Report: Home-Sharing Services Struggle to Win Over Corporate Travel Departments

With safety and uncertainty big factors, travel departments haven’t cozied up to home-sharing services like Airbnb, but individual employees have fewer issues with the services.

Services like Airbnb may be all the rage these days, but they’re getting the cold shoulder from the corporate travel world.

That’s according to recent research from the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) Foundation, which reports that travel policies have failed to catch up with home-sharing offerings. Home-Sharing and Travel Policies – A Shifting Landscape, done in partnership with AccorHotels, notes that part of the problem is that businesses haven’t cozied up to the concept, which is generally more associated with leisure travel, though Airbnb and its competitors are making inroads.

With the need to ensure the safety of travelers a key concern for many companies, many travel professionals worry that home-sharing platforms don’t hit the mark. Nearly 9 in 10 (87 percent) noted that duty-of-care issues come into play for their employees, while 61 percent say that unpredictable home-sharing conditions are a major concern.

And while travel departments have considered opening up their platforms for home-sharing services, just 17 percent have pulled the trigger—far below the 37 percent of business travelers who consider home-sharing platforms fair game.

GBTA Research Director Kate Vasiloff noted that the issue at hand points at the fact that employers must decide if home-sharing offerings are right for them—as well as the hill that such offerings have to climb.

“A travel professional must simultaneously balance his or her obligation to keep travelers safe with a need to make cost-effective decisions and select suppliers and services that foster productivity, while not compromising the well-being of the traveler,” Vasiloff noted in a news release. “Allowing home-sharing services into a traveler program may not be the right option for every company, but it should be an informed decision.”

The study is one of a few to come out in recent months that shows that home-sharing has a steeper hill to climb than transit services like Uber and Lyft do. In January, for example, Certify’s SpendSmart Report found that more than half of all local transit expenses were related to Uber alone in the fourth quarter of 2016, while Airbnb represented just over a quarter of a percent of all bookings in the fourth quarter last year.

(Alper Çuğun/Flickr)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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