Workplace Culture

Sharing Economy: Business Travelers Slow to Start ‘Sharing’

By Andie Burjek

Oct. 20, 2015

A major player in the so-called Sharing Economy, Airbnb is a marketplace for people to list and book accommodations.

Even as the sharing economy continues to catch on among frugal travelers and college students, there’s still a group that’s reluctant to jump on the bandwagon: business travelers.

Only 4 percent of Americans have used Airbnb while traveling for work and only 7 percent have used Uber or Lyft on work-related trips, according to a survey from On Call International, a medical evacuation and emergency assistance company, which surveyed more than 1,000 business travelers. 

Personal safety may be contributing to why businesspeople are not using these sharing economy services, according to the survey. Few business travelers, only 7 percent and 2 percent, respectively, say they feel safer using Uber or Airbnb than traditional travel and lodging options.

However, safety concerns don’t explain the disparity entirely. About half of the survey respondents said they feel equally safe with either travel or lodging option.

 For lodging, almost two-thirds of younger respondents, ages 18 to 24, said they feel as safe in an Airbnb lodging destination as a hotel. Only 43 percent of respondents aged 25 to 34 thought the same about safety, said Jim Hutton, On Call International’s chief security officer, in an email.

Additionally, employees of smaller, more entrepreneurial companies with limited travel budgets may see the sharing economy as something that fits their needs while people in larger or more established companies might think differently, Hutton said.

“Employees with more seniority in organizations with traditional travel policies may be unconsciously failing to adopt the new services simply from habit,” he added.

Andie Burjek is a Workforce editorial intern. Comment below or email editors@workforce.com. Follow Workforce on Twitter at @workforcenews.

Andie Burjek is an associate editor at Workforce.com.

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