The State of Shared Lodging in Corporate Travel
By Andrew Dyer Vice President of Global Supply, Egencia | August 19, 2018
The sharing economy is everywhere, and as more business travelers continue to use it on trips, companies are taking notice. According to a recent survey from Chrome River Technologies, nearly 7 out of 10 (68 percent) medium to large companies allow their employees to use home-sharing services. Not only are companies incorporating shared lodging options in their travel policies, but alternative accommodation services are conversely expanding their amenities to specifically target business travelers, as well as through strategic brand relationships and alliances with TMCs and other business travel suppliers.
OTAs and travel providers alike, such as Expedia Group, are picking up on this growing trend by offering alternative accommodations on their sites. At Egencia, we began offering alternative accommodations in 2016. As a newer selection, alternative accommodations are growing at a rapid rate of nearly two times faster than traditional lodging on our platform.
What's the Appeal?
Although road warriors are commonly associated with hotels, alternative accommodations are becoming a popular lodging option for business travelers. In fact, over 40 percent of business travelers have expressed interest in staying in a home-share. Shared lodging options have grown in popularity among business travelers as they continue to seek more authentic experiences and one-of-a-kind moments. Other factors for choosing alternative accommodations over hotels include location flexibility, competitive pricing and being able to retain a consistent schedule without disruption, which is an important factor especially for road warriors.
As millennials continue to enter the workforce, we can expect that shared lodging bookings will increase. According to research conducted by GBTA, millennial business travelers are the biggest adopters of sharing economy platforms, and are more likely to use room sharing services compared to their older counterparts. Seeking both value and freedom of choice, millennial business travelers are more inclined to opt out on traditional accommodation options in favor of more unique experiences.
As booking alternative accommodations for business travel becomes more prevalent, it's important to keep in mind the perspectives of travel managers as well. The rise of alternative accommodations, as well as other sharing economy services, presents new duty of care challenges for corporate travel managers to address. Hoteliers have the upper-hand in this case as travel managers are able to easily collect traveler information from hotel bookings made within their program as opposed to home-sharing bookings made on third-party platforms. With this in mind, leverage and maintain your relationships with travel managers to ensure that your properties remain accessible to business travelers through their companies' travel programs.
Hotels and Alternative Accommodations: A Healthy Competition