Business travelers have long preferred the convenience and flexibility of mobile taxi apps like Uber and Lyft, but corporate travel managers initially resisted, citing higher cost, but according to a recent study, businesses are beginning to give in to their employees’ mobile ride-sharing app use.
New research from the Association of Corporate Travel Executives found that about 20 percent of respondents surveyed said they now allow traveling employees to use such apps, another 20 percent, the research showed, are considering allowing services like Uber for corporate travel.
This shift, said the group’s executive director Greeley Koch, is a response to growing demand among corporate travelers to be able to use these services. “Companies need to take a look because their travelers are asking for them,” he said. “What I would bet you over the next 12 months is a lot of those ‘nos’ will be looking at these programs even more,” he predicted of the travel managers that do not permit employee use of these mobile services.
Despite the resistance, almost one-third of corporate travelers are now using services like Uber, up from just one-tenth a year prior, travel and expense management software firm Certify found. Certify founder and chief executive Bob Neveu similarly told The New York Times that this trend will likely continue.
When workers were asked by reporters why they gravitate toward these services, respondents said that increased efficiency and the ability to hail a ride without having to carry cash were major factors.
Reports also note the increased adaption of these apps to business travelers. Uber for Business, for example, was launched last summer, with updates allowing travel managers to have greater control and customization over the service for their employees seen just weeks ago. Uber has also teamed up with travel management service provider Concur to boost its corporate travel offerings. Lyft has similarly launched business-targeted services through Lyft for Work, allowing managers to distribute ride credits to traveling workers.
This trend, reports said, has led to the use of traditional taxis taking a downfall among workers. Traditional cab rides now make up less than half of corporate rides expensed by workers.
The trend is also indicative of workers’ insistence on using their own smartphones to make travel easier, as new travel and expense management mobile apps have emerged on the market.