How Do You Protect Your Business Travelers in the Evolving World of the Sharing Economy?

The sharing economy has grown to be bigger than ever. By 2021 it will reach 86.5 million users in the U.S., with revenues projected to more than double to $40.2 billion by 2022, according to Juniper Research.

For travelers, this is great news. The peer-to-peer model of the sharing economy makes travel more affordable, convenient, and efficient – putting the traveler in control of their itinerary and, more importantly, their experience. But as business travelers continue embracing new tools to help get them to where they need to go, many organizations and TMC’s are scrambling to adapt the proper policies – and technologies – to continue to meet their travelers’ needs.

So how does the sharing economy impact your travelers’ safety coming up in the year 2020? With increasing booking options for travelers and the constant change of industry travel, the rise of the sharing economy means it’s harder for organizations to stay in contact with, and support, their travelers when they’re on the road. Yet employees must still travel to build trust, and employers must provide duty of care during their journeys.


3 rising risks of the sharing economy in 2020

The corporate travel ecosystem, once traditionally powered by the relationship between travel managers and travel providers, used to afford organizations complete control. This included having access to travelers’ itineraries and the channels they booked, helping organizations manage risk, improve satisfaction, ensure employee safety, and deliver on other critical business objectives – such as maintaining partner relationships and negotiating vendor prices. Yet, in today’s world of corporate travel, the sharing economy has put the traveler in control. So why are organizations struggling? Here are three areas within the sharing economy where organizations may still have concerns:


  1. Criticism of the sharing economy involves regulatory uncertainty. Businesses offering rental services are often regulated by federal, state, or local authorities. However, unlicensed individuals offering rental services may not be following these regulations or paying the associated costs. For corporations and business travelers, this could lead to the increased risk of regulatory fines and other compliance concerns. For example, when issues regarding insurance coverages come into play, most companies will naturally want to distance themselves from such occurrences, thereby avoiding liability altogether.


  1. A lack of government oversight can lead to serious abuse of both buyers and sellers. This has been highlighted by numerous highly publicized cases of things like hidden cameras in rented rooms, lawsuits over unfair treatment of ridesharing contractors by the platforms that employ them, and even some more serious crimes such as rideshare providers putting employees/users in immediate danger. Without government oversight to ensure protection of both buyers and sellers, corporations run high risks of failing to provide proper employee safety and other duty of care concerns.


  1. A fear of personal data or travel information being leaked or shared. As our world becomes more and more digital, data privacy is a high concern for just about everyone. If one party fails to deliver or keep up their end of the bargain, there are serious consequences that must be dealt with. Remember: it’s not just about payment details, such as credit card information, that will have to be revealed by travelers – personal identity and location information are also involved.


Meet travelers where they are - tips to provide duty of care within the sharing economy

Organizations should take a proactive approach to duty of care by empowering employees with the right knowledge, tools, and support to meet the safety and security challenges. Consider these four tips to help mitigate risks and meet travelers where they are:


  1. Gather pre-travel reports. Destination risks, advice on situational awareness, and preventive security recommendations can help travelers understand their destinations, so they can choose appropriate accommodations and transportation options.


  1. Send travel updates and alerts. City-specific and real-time travel alerts will inform individuals about destination-specific issues and incidents that could impact their safety so they can avoid risks where possible.


  1. Ensure there’s an established two-way means of communication. Assistance and response services will provide immediate support to travelers should they experience negative incidents. Applied correctly, these mechanisms will enable travelers to make better decisions to reduce their travel risk.


  1. Protect your employee’s information from unauthorized access. When dealing with location, credit cards, and other forms of personal identification information (PII),  you’ll want to ensure your T&E management solution only collects the minimum PII necessary.  You’ll also want to make sure that processes are founded on and audited to the internationally recognized ISO 27001 Security Management standard. This helps keep your employee’s PII secure and safe.


How SAP Concur can help

While the sharing economy has greatly increased the traveler’s experience, it’s also increased the chances of your employee’s travel data becoming siloed. How can you holistically gather location data, emergency contact information, and ensure data security to provide duty of care at any time? With help from SAP Concur.

SAP Concur is the only company with the investment and innovation to connect every part of your unique travel ecosystem— your TMC, your online booking tool, your suppliers, intermediaries, or any other place your travelers’ book or buy. So, whether your employees are booking a room, a flight, a car, a train ticket, or even driving their own car— the data from every itinerary or purchase they make is secure, captured, and connected. We’ve even partnered with ridesharing companies Uber and Lyft to provide an effortless business experience for travelers on the road.

Once your data is connected through our secure solution, SAP Concur can then put that data to work, so you can effectively— and proactively— manage everything from policies to approvals and compliance, while keeping your travelers safer and more productive than ever before.

With SAP Concur you can:

  • Consolidate employee travel data into a single solution
  • Integrate with third parties, communicating to employees how they can opt in and reassure them about the separation between business and personal travel data
  • Enhance the quality of digital travel risk tools
  • Fill in the gaps between traditional itinerary data
  • Keep up with the sharing economy when it comes to increasing the traveler’s experience


Learn more about how SAP Concur can help build traveler safety and support travelers in the sharing economy, no matter where they are, by visiting our Duty of Care solutions webpage.

Loading next article