The “sharing economy” is a buzz phrase that has been thrown around the travel industry a lot over the last couple of years. Any travel company today needs to consider how it should respond to this new phenomenon that is winning over travelers in their millions. So what is it, and which companies are re-shaping our business with their sharing economy-based models?
New peer-to-peer platforms like Airbnb, Uber and many others allow us to rent and share our homes, cars, dinner tables and destination knowledge like never before. Whether as hosts or travelers, we can now embark on a journey of collaborative consumption and enjoy a new world of shared travel. Fueled by economic factors and a tremendous social appeal, this new economy has spread across all travel sectors – accommodation, transportation, dining and destination experiences. It’s a love-hate relationship as consumers enjoy the convenience and price of renting from peers, whilst travel players have been caught on the back-foot by the speed of change. Faced with legislative challenges, the future of the sharing economy remains uncertain, however, we expect travel and retail heavyweights to enter the fray and add to the sector’s legitimacy.