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Half of Australians prefer to use home-sharing apps like Airbnb when travelling for work

September 18, 2018 OTA News No Comments

 A desire for more flexible solutions, better quality service and convenience are just some of the reasons why one in two Australian employees prefer to use home-sharing apps like Airbnb and Couch Surfing over traditional accommodation choices when travelling for business. The research from Amadeus, conducted in collaboration with YouGov across 14 markets in Asia Pacific[1] and surveying a total of 6,870 respondents, comes as Airbnb expands it business travel offering to include experiences, relocation and offsite meeting services.

Business-related travel is the top growth market within Australia’s travel industry, with the latest data from Tourism Research Australia recording an 11% jump to 2.13 million travellers in the 12 months to March 2018. To help tap into this growth opportunity and get inside the mind of the business traveller, Amadeus has released new data about the needs, habits and motivations of business travellers in Australia and Asia Pacific.

Flexibility is driving users in the sharing economy 

The research found that while employees don’t need to bear the cost of their business travel, Asia Pacific business travellers are just as cost conscious as their leisure travel counterparts, and are most interested in receiving recommendations that help them save money (34%). The rise in ‘bleisure’ travel is undoubtedly a contributing factor to this thrifty behaviour. With more than 60% of business trips now including a leisure portion[2], many business travellers are shopping around for the best deal.

Alongside cost, a new focus on flexibility has seen the sharing economy – specifically ride-sharing services like Uber and Grab, and home-sharing services like Airbnb and Couch Surfing – become widely accepted for business travel, even more so than for leisure. In Australia, 50% of business travellers use home-sharing services during their trip, compared to 20% of leisure travellers. This figure is significantly higher than of its neighbour New Zealand, where only 20% of employees use home sharing services for business travel.

The top reasons Australian business travellers gave for using home sharing services are the flexibility of the home-sharing economy (47%), better quality service (36%), cost saving (36%) and being easy to use and convenient (36%).

Renaud Nicolle, Vice President, Travel Channels, Business Travel Asia Pacific, Amadeus said, “The rise of ‘bleisure’ means that business travel behaviours are becoming more aligned to leisure travel, including cost consciousness. Sharing economy providers benefit from this trend thanks to the competitive products, flexibility and convenience they are able to offer and deliver. Business travel agencies in Asia Pacific need to enhance their product and service offering to be able to cater for the experience their travellers expect.”

Being safe is a higher priority than answering work emails

 While business travellers are cost conscious, there is one comfort they will happily pay for – connectivity. While leisure travellers rely mainly on Wi-Fi, business travellers are open to multiple options to stay connected, and are happy to invest.

Wi-Fi remains the popular choice, but purchasing a local sim card at the destination is a close second for business travellers from Indonesia (54%), Singapore (54%), Philippines (51%), Hong Kong (47%), New Zealand (45%), Vietnam (45%) and Malaysia (44%). On the other hand, those from India (56%), Thailand (51%), Australia (43%) and Taiwan (42%) prefer to buy an international phone or data package before they leave home. 

While it would make sense that employees want to stay connected during the business trip to keep updated with work and emails, this was not listed as the highest priority for any Asia-Pacific business traveller, expect for those in Korea (56%). For Australian business travellers, having instant ‘access to maps and location’ (51%) and ‘letting people know I’m safe’ (40%), are their top priorities over staying updated with work and business (36%).

Business travellers want recommendations 

Travel providers have a unique opportunity with business travellers, as they find the recommendations they receive from various platforms more relevant than leisure travellers do. Australian business travels listed recommendations that help them save money (36%), make the travel more comfortable (33%) and ensure their safety (29%) as the most useful.

The top three sources that Australian business travellers listed for relevant recommendations were online booking websites like Expedia (46%), travel review sites (41%) and social networks (36%). Even post trip, about two thirds of Australian business travellers are open to receiving recommendations (64%), most likely because they will return to that destination in the future.

“Business travel is a real growth opportunity in the Asia Pacific region, but to capitalise on this, travel providers need to have a clear understanding of the needs, habits and motivations of the business traveller. They also need to be ahead of the curve when it comes to technology, ensuring they can offer the technology that business travellers have adopted and habitually use.

It is all about personalisation, and pushing the right message at the right time to the right traveller, every time. This level of personalization makes their business trip simple, stress-free and rewarding at every stage of the journey – from search and booking to expense reconciliation; from airport parking, lounge access, hotel and meeting rooms to departure control systems and baggage check-in,” Nicolle said.

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