Business travel segment provides development opportunities to the car sharing sector

Concernment towards sustainability is a trend which can be reflected in many sectors. In the Travel & Tourism industry, operators are paying more and more attention to sustainability both in the hotel and in the transport sector, for examples in airports. As reported by the World Economic Forum, several cities are taking measures and policies which are increasingly eco-friendly. This is what is happening in some European cities which are becoming car-free, mostly in urban centres. For example, Madrid is planning to make the Gran Vía, namely the most important street of the city, completely free from private vehicles by 2019. Further European cities that are moving in this direction are Oslo (Norway), with its cycling paths plan which are going to partially replace streets, Hamburg (Germany), Copenhagen (Denmark) which is planning a bike “highway”, Paris (France), Athens (Greece) that along with Madrid, Paris and London is projecting a diesel cars ban by 2025, London (UK) and Brussels (Belgium) which, after Copenhagen, has the largest car-free zone in Europe.

A solution which is now catching on well in European cities is car sharing. Nowadays it represents one of the most successful trends, along with bike and bus sharing. In fact, there are numerous investments in this field. Recently TravelCar, French car sharing company, received a 15 million euros investment round from the automotive company PSA Group and the insurance company MAIF. By now, TravelCar operates in 10 European Countries, and lets its customers to rent their car at third parties, receiving a fee from them. Moreover, it provides free parking near airports, train stations and city centres. PSA Group also launched Free2Move, a mobile app which provides a single platform that includes 20 active operators in car, bike and scooter sharing.

Notwithstanding, this mobility solution is sometimes met with mistrust, mainly due to security reasons. In fact, even if in 2016 ridesharing receipts exceeded traditional ground transportation ones for the first time, conflicting results come from a AirPlus International‘s report. The company, which analyses firms’ expenses for business travels, realised a global survey on more than 2.000 people, both business travellers and transfer managers. The survey highlighted that, even if business travellers are keen on using ride sharing services for an alternative travel experience (84%) and for the economic convenience (82%), 49% of companies prevent their employers from using them, mostly for the troubles due to managing travel reports and for safety and insurance reasons. In Europe, Italy is against the current. In fact, 38% of companies allows the use of ride sharing services; in markets like India and China the percentage rises up to about 60%.

At Twissen we observed that sharing economy in the transport sector is a trend which meets the willingness of many administrations which wish to become car-free. Car sharing, along with bus sharing, is a sector which has growing potential, especially in the business travel segment. To meet the companies needs, some changes may be necessary, in order to guarantee more security and tools to control expenses and fiscal documents.