What is the Impact of the Sharing Economy in the Tourism Industry?

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Travel sharing includes such companies as Uber and Airbnb.  These services are gaining in popularity, but at the same time, they are growing faster than legislation can be written to regulate them.  The impact of this change, the leaders in the field and market forec asts are examined in Euromonitor International’s report Travel and the Sharing Economy.

Both Uber and Airbnb were recently in the headlines.

Uber settled two class-action lawsuits, one each in California and in Massachusetts, that will keep Uber drivers independent contractors.  The lawsuits had claimed that Uber drivers are employees and thus entitled to the reimbursement of certain expenses, according to Pop Herald.   If the settlement is approved, drivers will share $84 million.

Lawsuits in three other states are still pending.

Meanwhile, the Service Employees Union International (SEUI) reached a deal with Airbnb that would promote the use of unionized housekeepers who make a minimum of $15 an hour, according to The American Prospect.  Hospitality union Unite Here, however, said it was appalled because Airbnb violates labor laws by using nonunionized labor.

Labor unions aren’t the only ones distrustful of a sharing economy.   Corporate travel managers also are distrustful, according to a whitepaper released by the Association of Corporate Travel Executives in conjunction with American Express Global Business Travel.  Security was one of the top reasons cited for not using a sharing service.

Despite missing out on corporate travel clients, sharing services are holding their own.  It is expected that Airbnb will surpass Uber in value in 2019, according to Juniper Research. Airbnb’s revenue is forecasted to be $6.1 billion globally in 2019, up from $2.3 billion in 2015.  This growth is fueled by low prices as well as rewards offered to the property owners, Juniper found.

The impact of sharing services in travel remains to be seen.  While these services do add to the economy, they lack regulation and with everyone preoccupied with their online ratings will safety be compromised?

As reported by the Grattan Institute and published by The Guardian, it is suggested that safety regulations need to be universal.  “Uber drivers should also be required to meet certain standards – such as passing a criminal-history and driving-history check, a need to have zero blood-alcohol concentration, and for their cars to undergo an initial roadworthy inspection and appropriate follow-up inspections,” The Guardian says.

Similar regulations should be in place for Airbnb.

Ecommerce and mobile technology play a role in how travelers make decisions.  This is especially true for younger travelers who use mobile technology and social media to influence decision making.  In 2015, there were three million apps available.  The impact of the Internet on travel is examined in Paul Budde Communication’s report Transforming Governments, Customers and Business. 

We hope this information has been helpful to you.  There is more useful information about the tourism industry in ReportLinker’s portal.  If you have any additional questions or needs, please feel free to contact us.