World Wise

A Shared Econ­omy – The dis­rup­tion poses new ways of life

Business Traveler (USA) - - BUSINESS TRAVELER - By Ross Atkin­son

On your next busi­ness trip, would you con­sider hop­ping ng on the empty leg of a pri­vate jet for a frac­tion of the cost of fly­ing com­mer­cial, grab­bing a black car, stay­ing in some­one’s home, or hav­ing a meal in some­body else’s kitchen with peo­ple you have never met? All of th­ese may not be to your lik­ing but th­ese dis­rup­tive of­fer­ings are chang­ing our way of life. Ac­cord­ing to the lat­est PwC Con­sumer In­tel­li­gence Se­ries, 19 per­cent of the to­tal US adult pop­u­la­tion has par­tic­i­pated by en­gag­ing some way in a shared econ­omy trans­ac­tion. And the growth looks like a hockey stick; re­search also shows that 72 per­cent see them­selves par­tic­i­pat­ing within the next two years.

Lead­ing the Change

In my opin­ion the au­to­mo­tive and hos­pi­tal­ity seg­ments have seen the most dis­rup­tion thus far. In the in­ter­ests of full dis­clo­sure, I’m a fan my­self. I en­joy find­ing the car that is be­yond the stan­dard rental. Sure, top of mind brands like Uber and Lyft are popular to grab a ride but some­times one just has to get be­hind the wheel. Of­fer­ings like Re­layRides let you rent from an in­di­vid­ual – con­vert­ible luxury sports car in the sun or SUV in the snow, with end­less op­tions in be­tween. Sim­ple car shar­ing around cer­tain towns for a day of­ten re­quires noth­ing more than an app to walk up and drive away.

HomeAway, Inc (AWAY) with more than a mil­lion rental homes in 190 coun­tries, and a $3 bil­lion mar­ket cap is a great al­ter­na­tive to snag a multi-room, key lo­ca­tion, or res­i­dence for an up­com­ing trip. Great for per­sonal space, ex­tended stays or even en­ter­tain­ing. To tip the scales of dis­rup­tion, the much-talked-about seven year old Airbnb av­er­ages 450,000 guests per night for a to­tal of 155 mil­lion in 2014. Ac­cord­ing to the Con­sumer In­tel­li­gence Se­ries, this is 22 per­cent more than Hil­ton World­wide’s 127 mil­lion guests dur­ing that same pe­riod.

Much More than Cars and Homes

Are both of th­ese a di­rect com­par­i­son? No, not at all. How­ever, it is telling how rad­i­cally mar­kets can be changed and more im­por­tant, how we are valu­ing and con­sum­ing all the of­fer­ings this rad­i­cal new econ­omy prom­ises to de­liver.

There are other ex­am­ples in cars and hos­pi­tal­ity, and more in other mar­kets mar­kets. Choose a fla­vor and you will find some ver­sion of shar­ing:

An­other ex­am­ple, di­rectly re­lated to our lives on the road, is con­nect­ing us to spare ca­pac­ity of pri­vate jet ser­vice. One such of­fer­ing, JetS­tarter, has an app to find and book – at heavy dis­counts – empty legs of pri­vate air­craft flights.

Are All Things Equal?

This is not your fran­chise model, so there has to be a mind­set shift as well. The ex­pe­ri­ence across var­i­ous ser­vices may lack con­sis­tency, so you have to keep a very open mind. Sure, driv­ers, cars, ser­vice providers are vet­ted, but there is an in­her­ent level of flu­id­ity in this new mar­ket. There is no front desk clerk and your room ser­vice is from a new de­liv­ery ser­vice from var­i­ous restau­rants in the neigh­bor­hood.

Brands have and are quickly over­com­ing the hur­dle of trust. We are in­her­ently pre­dis­posed to sec­ond-guess some­thing new and dif­fer­ent. Ac­tu­ally, 69 per­cent of those re­spond­ing to PwC’s Con­sumer In­tel­li­gence Se­ries agree they will not trust com­pa­nies in the shared econ­omy un­til some­one they trust rec­om­mends them. This is much like any other prod­uct or ser­vice. Of­ten we base our de­ci­sions on in­put from var­i­ous sources in­clud­ing friend’s opin­ions.

Not only are th­ese of­fer­ings of­ten unique, we are see­ing both new and le­gacy brands get into the game, of­ten names we al­ready know and trust, thus elim­i­nat­ing that bar­rier. Bank­ing gi­ant Citi is a great ex­am­ple, jump­ing into the bike shar­ing with Citi Bike. It’s only a bi­cy­cle ex­am­ple but who is to say what is next?

Dis­rup­tive of­fer­ings in this new econ­omy are driv­ing in­no­va­tions, val­ues, and be­hav­iors across all gen­er­a­tions through­out all as­pects of how we live our lives. So again I pose the ques­tion to you: On your next busi­ness trip, would you con­sider hop­ping on the empty leg of a pri­vate jet for a frac­tion of the cost of fly­ing com­mer­cial, stay­ing in some­one’s home, or hav­ing a meal in some­body else’s kitchen with peo­ple you have never met? BT

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