Ridesharing services continue to see growing acceptance and usage among consumers. One recent report by Bloomberg New Energy Finance found that the number of riders worldwide using ridesharing grew to more than 769 million individuals at the end of 2017, a 28 percent increase from just six months prior. Clearly, ridesharing’s unique combination of convenience, reliability, and seamless experience make for a compelling combination for many people.
However, the corporate travel sector has historically been more cautious in its adoption of ridesharing services, despite these seemingly obvious benefits. Some corporate travel managers have been slower than business travelers to embrace ridesharing, citing issues like duty of care concerns or existing relationships with other ground transport providers. Yet because of how quickly the industry is evolving, this hesitation may not necessarily reflect the realities of today’s environment. What portion of business travelers are actually using ridesharing for their work trips in 2018? And are there any obstacles that stand in the way of wider adoption of ridesharing in corporate travel?
To find out the answers to these questions, and to provide corporate travel managers with the latest data on business travelers’ use of ridesharing, SkiftX recently partnered with Lyft to field a study investigating the ridesharing habits of several hundred U.S.-based business travelers. What did they have to say? The results suggest an overwhelming, and surprisingly rapid, surge in adoption of ridesharing services among business travelers. Here are some of the key data points:
- More than 90 percent of business travelers said their organization allows the use of ridesharing services for business trips –– a sign of the services’ universal popularity.
- Consumers’ personal use of ridesharing is helping drive more adoption in the business travel sector. More than 65 percent of respondents said they use the same ridesharing service for work that they use for personal reasons.
- A significant majority of business traveler riders said that the top three benefits of ridesharing services are their ease of use (mentioned by 86 percent of respondents), simplicity of payment (65 percent), and low cost (41 percent).
- Inertia seems to be the biggest factor holding back corporate travel managers who have not yet integrated ridesharing into their policies. Among respondents who could not use ridesharing for business travel, 75 percent said their organization had “no clear policy,” creating potential confusion among employees.
Business Travelers’ Use of Ridesharing Is Now the Norm, Not the Exception
Business travelers’ use of ridesharing may have been a novelty just a few short years ago, but today that’s no longer the reality. Skift’s 2018 survey respondents reported near-universal acceptance of ridesharing within their employers’ corporate travel policies. In fact, more than 90 percent of respondents said their employer already allows them to use ridesharing services when they travel for work.
Adding to the sense that ridesharing is increasingly the status quo is the fact that the services are also business travelers’ primary transportation option. More than 79 percent of respondents said ridesharing was their first choice when selecting among other choices including taxis, rental cars, and car services.
Even better, companies of all sizes and industries are increasingly on board with ridesharing as well. More than 30 percent of survey respondents said they worked at large organizations with more than 5,000 employees, while another 23 percent said they work at companies of between one to 50 employees. Business travelers’ industry also wasn’t a prohibitive factor. Respondents who said their company allows them to use ridesharing services work in a wide variety of industries, including technology, travel, professional services, and government, among others.
Personal Use Is Helping Encourage More Corporate Use
Growing personal use of ridesharing among consumers is also helping push more adoption among the corporate travel set. “It was natural to include ride-sharing in our travel program as many people were starting to utilize it on their own,” noted Rosemary Maloney, senior manager, global travel, for fashion company Tapestry. When Skift’s survey respondents were asked how often they used the same ridesharing service for work that they used for personal reasons, 65 percent of respondents said “all the time,” making it the most popular answer.
This aligns with the opinions of executives from the ridesharing sector as well. “Passengers rode with Lyft 375 million times in 2017, up 2.3x from the year prior. So it’s no surprise that mass adoption of ridesharing is translating to the corporate travel space,” said David Baga, chief business officer of Lyft.
Convenience and Cost Are the Biggest Factors Driving Ridesharing Adoption
The survey also found that business travelers rely on ridesharing services due to their wide variety of benefits. More than 86 percent of those who already use ridesharing for business trips –– as well as 70 percent of travelers who have a company policy that currently prohibits the use of ridesharing –– said the main benefit was ease of use. Business travelers also said that ridesharing services made it easier to pay (mentioned by more than 65 percent), and that ridesharing was cheaper than other ground transport options (41 percent). “Ridesharing allows me to focus on my clients’ business instead of where I need to find parking, get gas, or return a rental car”, confirmed Kyle Flick, a consultant and frequent user of ridesharing during business trips.
“Businesses and employees have begun to realize the reliability, affordability and ease of Lyft,” said Lyft’s David Baga. “We expect even more organizations to integrate ridesharing as a foundational ground transportation solution into their corporate travel programs in 2018.”
Inertia Is the Biggest Roadblock for Corporate Travel Managers
With so many benefits and such widespread usage, there seems to be little to stop further adoption of ridesharing among corporate travel managers. What then, is preventing travel managers from allowing ridesharing on business trips? It turns out that the biggest factor may be simple inertia.
When SkiftX asked corporate travelers currently prohibited from using ridesharing what was stopping them, the biggest factor seemed to be a status quo policy or no policy whatsoever. Among survey respondents who said they currently had a prohibition against the use of ridesharing, more than 75 percent said there was “no clear reason” their company did not allow ridesharing. Other question options including problems with expensing or technical challenges were selected by zero respondents.
The rise of ridesharing may seem like a foregone conclusion to consumers. But for many corporate travel managers, ridesharing has historically been a source of considerable debate.
Now, thanks to growing evidence, it appears that requests for ridesharing are becoming more difficult to ignore. As demonstrated by the results of the survey, there’s a growing consensus forming for ridesharing adoption, thanks to the ease of use, simple payment systems, and reasonable costs the services offer. On top of this, the types of companies offering ridesharing services to employees represent a range of industries and organization sizes, suggesting that many have figured out a way to make it work, despite concerns to the contrary.
Ridesharing may have been optional for business travelers in the past. But as the numbers increasingly suggest, it’s time for corporate travel managers from across all industries to get on board. To learn more about how Lyft Business can help your company add ridesharing to its ground transportation program, click here.