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On-Demand Disruptors In T&E: Uber, Airbnb — And Craigslist?

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U.S. corporations spent more than $282 billion on corporate travel last year, and the latest data from T&E company Certify says more of that money is going to the sharing economy.

In a new report reviewing corporate travel and expense management trends released today (Jan. 26), Certify found 2016 was certainly a year of change in this space. Businesses continued to spend less on traditional taxis and hotels, with “miscellaneous” spending increasing by an average of more than $12 last year compared to the year prior, making up nearly 13 percent of all corporate travel spend.

But the biggest story, Certify said, is the increase in dollars allocated to sharing economy services.

Once again, spend on Uber increased, with 12 percent more spend going to the ridesharing service in the last quarter of 2016 compared to Q4 2015. Lyft’s grab of the market doubled to 4 percent, and while that may seem small, Certify found that Lyft saw a 551 percent increase in growth among corporate travelers in 2016 — more than double the growth percentage of Uber.

Traditional taxis, meanwhile, have lost 37 percent of the market since Q1 2014, researchers found.

Ridesharing isn’t the only on-demand economy making waves in corporate travel. Certify’s report found that Craigslist is a surprising champion in the T&E space, making up .53 percent of corporate travel spend in Q4 2016 — surpassing even Wi-Fi spend. According to one corporate traveler, Craigslist allows the company “to increase our candidate pool and choose the best for this assignment,” suggesting that the online marketplace is a top destination when businesses need to hire new talent.

Airbnb, too, is rising in the corporate travel space, making up .27 percent of the total spend on lodging for businesses in Q4 2016. Airbnb has seen a doubling of its transaction growth for business travelers since 2014, Certify said.

Finally, UberEATS, the on-demand food delivery service owned by Uber and launched in Dec. 2015, now makes up 6 percent of food delivery spend for businesses.

“Business travel got a lot more personal in 2016,” reflected Certify CEO Robert Neveu in a statement. “The growing preference for sharing economy services — like Uber and, to a lesser degree, Airbnb — really underscores the trend towards consumerization of traditional corporate travel.”

“More than a footnote in history,” he continued, “it’s the kind of transformational change that will continue to shape the industry for years to come.”

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