The sharing economy in the world of travel?
Sure, we all know the stories about Uber and Airbnb.
But there’s a lot more to this trend that is changing our work than the waves of tweets and updates about disruption that wash over us every day. And there’s more to it than disruption.
First things first.
Sharing is not new. It’s ancient human behaviour.
It’s not that we have discovered sharing in the 21st century. We have always been doing that, really: we just get together and organise ourselves in a way to share access to products or services. Simple.
But. Add technology, which for the past decades has been changing rapidly to become available for much more people, and you’ll see how it enables us to share very specific services on a much more larger scale, and much faster so – and much more efficiently and easily too.
Just look at the numbers. Back in 2011 Time Magazine predicted that “collaborative consumption” would change our world. Today, The Global Vacation Rental market is worth $100 billion, and estimated at a whopping $150 billion in 2018. Not to mention the stunning rise of Airbnb and the likes.
Travellers love sharing
It’s no surprise that the travel sharing economy has taken off in our world. Travel is ideal for sharing. For several reasons.
- To travel is to be curious by nature
The sharing model has been growing thanks to travellers who look for something different. 54% of millennial travellers – people aged 21 to 34 – are open to Airbnb-style accomodation, says our 2014 report “Business Travel: Insights Hotel 360” (.pdf).
- Those same travellers value ‘couleur local’ and great pricing
Those same millennials tend to appreciate value for money, and aim for a couleur local experience: exactly those things to be found in a sharing model.
- We can share lots of things
Cars, boat trips, bikes, rooms, parking spaces, places to enjoy music, shops… Name it and you can share it. No wonder sharing initiatives keep popping up to match demand. In 2014 Airbnb offered 1 million listings in 192 countries.
Trust and social-personal: 2 pillars
The success of sharing in travel consists of two components: both providers and customers have to be able to trust each other. Enter social media, where travellers are encouraged to share highly personal experiences and review services.
Direct messaging allows for personal contact and that crucial personal check, enriched by credit card info, email, phone numbers and the social media account as a whole. By sharing pictures, descriptions, plans and useful info providers and travellers help each other out to make well-informed decisions. The new travel sharing economy is a social-personal-technological one by nature.
Breaking: the travel sharing economy is not new
Like we pointed out in the beginning: this is not new behaviour. We have always been able to rent apartments, or hire a private driver. It’s just that we have dedicated platforms at our disposal now, just a touch away on our smartphones, used by millions of people around the world. Both for leisure and for business.
What we do understand, is how uncharted this territory can look for ‘traditional’ players. But there’s plenty to be learned, and implemented. How we value a personal relationship as travellers. How we use social channels to fulfil this human need. How we look for much more ‘content’ than we used to, including special tours now, or special places to eat, lesser-known events to attend.
Not all this may fit into our distribution businesses, but we can and we should look for ways to cooperate. That’s how we’ll shape the future of travel together.
Let’s start by sharing opinions
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Should you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us.