Skift Take

If young business travelers are making ride-sharing and home-sharing part of their routine, it's only a matter of time before the alternative options become mainstream.

Young business travelers in Europe’s biggest markets are more likely than their older counterparts to use sharing economy services such as Uber and Airbnb, a new study shows.

The findings were part of a report released this week on the booking behavior of business travelers in Europe’s three largest business travel markets: Germany, the UK, and France. The Global Business Travel Association’s (GBTA) research arm conducted the study with travel and expense management company Concur. Slightly more than 700 people completed the survey.

Nearly half of business travelers between 18 and 34 in the UK who responded to survey questions used ride-sharing services often or all the time, and 41 percent used home-sharing platforms with the same frequency.

Numbers were lower in Germany and France, but still came in above a quarter of respondents. Among young travelers in Germany, 29 percent used ride-sharing frequently and 36 percent used home-sharing. And 37 percent of those who replied in France used ride-sharing, while 28 percent used alternative accommodations.

Older age groups didn’t come close to matching those numbers. In the cohort of travelers aged 35 to 54, between six and 20 percent of respondents in the three countries used some kind of sharing economy service regularly — and the most frequent of those users were in France. A maximum of seven percent of business travelers 55 and older said they used the services frequently.

“This suggests business travelers could be much more likely to use sharing services in the future, as older travelers exit the workforce,” a GBTA statement said.

Millennials were also more likely to book air travel or hotel stays for work on mobile devices than older travelers, and used corporate online booking tools less often. The report says that trend suggests that alternative booking practices will grow unless younger travelers change their habits.

“As alternative channels are increasingly used, travel programs may have reduced visibility into booking over time facing greater difficulty ensuring duty of care and achieving cost savings,” Monica Sanchez, director of research for GBTA Foundation, said in a statement. “It’s important for travel professionals to plan for this growing trend in their programs – ensuring they capture and manage employee travel no matter where or how it was purchased.”


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Tags: airbnb, gbta, ride-sharing

Photo credit: A new report on booking behavior shows millennials are the most likely group to use ride-sharing or home-sharing platforms. Here, an Uber user is shown with a taxi in the background in São Paulo, Brazil. Núcleo Editorial / Flickr

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