The Business Side
Whatever this new economic elephant in the room is called, such options are bringing increasing interest from business travelers. In response, providers such as Uber, Lyft and Airbnb are taking steps to make their services attractive to managed travel programs.“They are tailoring their products to meet business needs,”says Miriam Moscovici, director of emerging technologies at BCD Travel. “All have launched new programs in recognition of what managed travel programs want.”
Typical are the recent measures taken by headliner Uber, which operates in more than 400 cities and 70 countries. To appeal to the corporate sector, Uber has fielded features that handle everything from controlling employee access to establishing guidelines on when and where employees may travel. For policy clients, trips are automatically billed to the company along with details such as cost, expense code, vehicle type and route.
Other helpful features include monthly billing and the option to purchase rides for guests to corporate events. Guest passes can be customized with date, time and a promo code.
Another pioneer in ground transportation, Lyft, reports that it has been securing partnerships with leaders in their spaces such as Airbnb, CareMore, Intuit and Hewlett Packard Enterprise. According to expense software provider Certify, the use of Lyft in the corporate travel space has increased substantially, more than doubling Uber’s growth rate among business travelers in 2016.
All told, ridesharing now accounts for over half (52 percent) of the total ground transportation category, and Lyft is viewing enterprise as a significant growth channel. To better connect with this growing market the company has introduced“business profiles,”giving travelers a separate profile so they can receive ride receipts in their work inbox and switch between personal and business payment methods depending on the situation.
The company’s mobility solutions include the option to schedule a ride up to 24 hours in advance as well as automatic expensing through integration with expense management systems. In addition, a dashboard dubbed Concierge allows travel organizers to request rides on behalf of passengers.