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

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Human Resources: An Era of Transition

Traditionally, the human resource department administers five key areas within a hotel operation - compliance, compensation and benefits, organizational dynamics, selection and retention, and training and development. However, HR professionals are also presently involved in culture-building activities, as well as implementing new employee on-boarding practices and engagement initiatives. As a result, HR professionals have been elevated to senior leadership status, creating value and profit within their organization. Still, they continue to face some intractable issues, including a shrinking talent pool and the need to recruit top-notch employees who are empowered to provide outstanding customer service. In order to attract top-tier talent, one option is to take advantage of recruitment opportunities offered through colleges and universities, especially if they have a hospitality major. This pool of prospective employees is likely to be better educated and more enthusiastic than walk-in hires. Also, once hired, there could be additional training and development opportunities that stem from an association with a college or university. Continuing education courses, business conferences, seminars and online instruction - all can be a valuable source of employee development opportunities. In addition to meeting recruitment demands in the present, HR professionals must also be forward-thinking, anticipating the skills that will be needed in the future to meet guest expectations. One such skill that is becoming increasingly valued is “resilience”, the ability to “go with the flow” and not become overwhelmed by the disruptive influences  of change and reinvention. In an era of transition—new technologies, expanding markets, consolidation of brands and businesses, and modifications in people's values and lifestyles - the capacity to remain flexible, nimble and resilient is a valuable skill to possess. The March Hotel Business Review will examine some of the strategies that HR professionals are employing to ensure that their hotel operations continue to thrive.