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First, travel managers resisted allowing their travelers to use ridesharing apps. Today, these on-demand services have become mainstream as business travelers bring their habits as consumers into the corporate realm.
Lyft has slowly grown more popular with travelers in recent years, as well, taking its share of corporate expenses. Meanwhile, Uber has struggled to deal with the ramifications of fast international growth and internal chaos while earning a commanding lead in popularity among business travelers.
Now, it looks like Lyft is ready to take a deeper dive into corporate travel. Lyft has partnered with Carlson Wagonlit Travel to provide streamlined ridesharing data solutions for travel managers. It’s the first such deal Lyft has signed.
A Lyft representative told Skift that the deal will make life easier for travel managers, adding access to data and administrative tools that will allow them to more effectively manage Lyft rides in the U.S. Lyft wouldn’t say whether similar deals are in the works with other travel management companies.
“We’re thrilled to partner with Carlson Wagonlit Travel, making it easier and faster for their clients to launch and manage seamless travel solutions with Lyft,” said Amit Patel, director of business development for Lyft Business. “At Lyft, we’re committed to improving people’s lives with the world’s best transportation, and working with Carlson Wagonlit Travel to move business travelers in a safe, easy, and affordable way is a natural next step for our work in this space.”
Lyft for Business, as a platform, launched earlier this year for individual companies and organizations looking for better insight into their Lyft usage.
Carlson Wagonlit Travel added similar functionality with Uber in February 2016, with Uber already accounting for close to half of the travel management company’s ground transportation expenses in 2015.
Uber started developing these types of partnerships more than a year ago, partnering with Concur in July 2016.
Uber has made a concerted effort to enter the corporate travel mainstream, going so far as to offer a platform with the goal of selling transportation services beyond just rides. It recently updated its Uber for Business platform, streamlining the process for travel managers.