It has taken less than a decade for the on-demand economy to transition from a niche in the leisure market to a mainstream solution for business travel. As we discover in Demanding Roles (page 26), the challenge for corporate travel programs is how – and how fast – to fold sharing providers into a travel policy, while maintaining control of Duty of Care and managing back-end expense reporting and data functions.

For the members of the BTE Buyer Think Tank, the different approaches to the sharing economy are, like most policy decisions, driven by a host of factors, including budget, market changes and traveler demand. Here are some of their experiences.

Rosemary Maloney
Senior Manager Global Travel

During my career, I’ve incorporated sharing economy in different ways at my vastly different organizations. Much like any vertical, one size (or philosophy) does not fit all and I have been far stricter on home sharing. In a previous position, I put parameters around home sharing that saved us considerable funds when attending festivals like SXSW or Sundance. The barriers I created made the process a bit painful as I had a lot of concerns and a lot of early adopters, but we were able utilize home sharing where it made sense. On the other side of that, I embraced ride share immediately. One of the defenses for my relaxed stance was that when you’re in a car you’re usually awake and dressed (as opposed to sleeping or showering). I’ve had it permitted in my policies for the past few years as well as partnering with Lyft, as they also prioritize safety and operating within the laws of the region they are in. It’s about adding choices for your travelers, even if you don’t prefer to travel that way yourself.

Mark Ziegler
Senior Travel Manager
NetApp, Inc.

Up until recently, NetApp’s corporate travel program has been very traditional. Due to a transformation of the company, there has been more emphasis placed on travel savings and cost rather than any other facet of travel. Recent changes in the company are allowing for more emphasis on the traveler experience. Slowly our company is moving toward the inevitable change to a demand economy approach to travel buying. A year ago, our policy embraced Uber and Lyft in its policy. This year we’ve opened Airbnb to our travelers.As talk of drastic changes to travel distribution takes a practical turn using NDC, NetApp is taking a new step toward more modern, traveler-centric processes. We are about to implement a mobility app to allow a more modern approach to managing our travel. The app will put us in a position to meet the requirements of a demand economy.

Jennifer Steinke
Vice President Global Travel Experience

The managed travel program has had to evolve its program offerings to ensure that on-demand suppliers are a part of their policy and program. In my programs we embrace these offerings. We work closely with these suppliers to enter into agreements with my company including setting up business programs, reporting and careful vetting of each of the suppliers. Travelers love these services and are using them regardless of policy. So the travel manager needs to hop on the bandwagon and find a fit within their managed travel program for these vendors.

Cheryl Benjamin
Travel Services Manager
Dart Container Corporation

We are in the process of adding Lyft to our program, the first on-demand component for us. We know travelers are using these services – I certainly do – so why not make it a part of our program? Travelers want to get where they need to be without hassle. The app allows them to see exactly where cars are located, how long it will take to get there, and how much it will cost before requesting the ride. One area this will make a difference in my program is in the meetings arena. Instead of hiring a car service for single travelers, we can supplement group ground transportation by using Lyft to reduce the cost.