Incorporating Non-Traditional Travel Options into a Comprehensive Travel Management Strategy

The use of shared economy travel suppliers has become a normal part of life for many consumers. Particularly in urban and suburban areas, transportation options such as Uber and Lyft offer stiff competition to traditional options based on their ease of use. Today, procurement leadership is tasked with controlling spending across a range of categories including travel that have typically been subjected to less direct oversight.

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Given the highly preferential nature of travel, it has been hard to get corporate travelers into a program that meets both cost control criteria as well as the individual tastes of corporate travelers. Now, as travelers have grown accustomed to the convenience of options like Uber and Airbnb, another layer of difficulty is added to the management of travel spending. Procurement needs to have a method of capturing the spend coming from these travel channels, and 71% see that need growing in the next 12 months.

Procurement feels the most hesitation in utilizing shared economy suppliers because of their perceptions of increased risk coming from these less predictable, less standardized tools. Since every driver and every home open for rental will be different, risk strategies need to be updated to cope with suddenly less predictable outcomes. The difference between an Airbnb and a well known hotel chain is night and day from a risk and predictability perspective. That stated, the potential for a much better outcome based on an individual traveler's preferences is also there, and potentially cost savings as well. It's notable that the potential for risk is more than twice as concerning as the secondary challenge that procurement anticipates, which is the need for education around how to use new service options. Generally, the level of comfort that individuals have with shared economy services is high based on the cultural ubiquity of on-demand apps. What might differ is the experience that an individual will have ordering services using a corporate account or app, meaning that a learning curve might still be present.

For the full data set gathered, along with a deeper level of analysis, stay tuned for the full research report on managing non-traditional travel options. The report is scheduled to be published on the ProcureCon Travel website on March 19th, 2019.

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