South African business travelers are flocking to sharing economy services like Uber and Airbnb, but business travel policy has so far failed to acknowledge the trend, according to new research from FCM Travel Solutions and the African Business Travel Association (ABTA).
A new report from the companies, released Monday (Sept. 11), found nearly 90 percent of corporate travelers across South Africa are using sharing economy services, but only 15 percent of businesses have included use of these services in their business travel policies.
“Getting business travelers to comply with the company’s travel policy in this environment is becoming increasingly difficult and can be a nightmare for travel managers who want to keep a tight control over their staff travel to monitor costs and ensure their travelers’ safety,” said Euan McNeil, general manager at FCM Travel Solutions, South Africa.
According to news reports in IOL, embrace of corporate travelers from companies like Uber and Airbnb are also likely to lead to ongoing challenges in how businesses allow their employees to use these services.
“Both [Uber and Airbnb] have expanded their services to speak specifically to business travel stakeholders, including the ability to pull spending data for travel managers and populate expense reports in expense management tools so that there’s complete oversight over travel spend,” said African Business Travel Association (ABTA) Founder Monique Swart in another statement.
According to McNeil, businesses must pay attention to this trend to make educated decisions on how to navigate this market.
“Companies looking at sharing economy services in their travel policy should carefully weigh up the pros and cons with an expert from their travel management company to determine when and how these services might be appropriate and to create a solution for data capture to ensure the organization meets its duty of care obligations for employees who are on business and that expenses are properly accounted for,” the executive said.