The Busi­ness Side

Business Traveler (USA) - - SPECIAL REPORT -

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.

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