Family connections proving popular with business travelers
Tuesday, October 30, 2012
The lingering economic uncertainties evident in much of the U.S. have forced many companies across the nation to reassess how they spend their money when trying to secure new business. While traveling to client offices is typically seen as the most effective way to close a deal with a new supplier or manufacturer, the costs associated with business travel can be prohibitive, especially for smaller companies. While some organizations opt to house executives in serviced apartments or corporate housing, according to The New York Times, keeping things in the family is becoming an increasingly attractive option for many travelers.
An emerging market
The news source reports that a trend is emerging across the business travel sector in which executives are choosing to stay with family or friends while out of town on business. Although this trend is somewhat nascent at the moment, it could have profound implications on startup businesses catering to individuals who are seeking another means of accommodation when traveling.
"[It] depends on the city, but one can save more than $100 per day when you factor in lodging, food and transportation," Andrew Schrage, founder of financial advice website Money Crashers.com, told the news source. "Once I realized how much money can be saved by staying with friends or family, it’s always my first choice whenever the opportunity is available."
Schrage feels so strongly about the cost-saving potential of staying with friends and family when traveling for business that he has incorporated special plans into his company's operations, offering friends or relatives of employees a cash bonus of 30 percent of what his executives would have spent on typical accommodations.
While serviced apartments and corporate housing will always be a superior choice for demanding business travelers, attitudes toward this method of cost reductions are having a profound effect on many startup companies.
According to The Christian Science Monitor, millions of people across the U.S. are embracing the so-called "sharing economy," where emphasis is placed on access to goods and services as opposed to ownership.
The news source reports that workers are sharing office space, drivers are sharing cars, and stressed-out urbanites in cities such as New York are even sharing dogs. However, services such as Airbnb, a website that enables users to find low-cost accommodations through a network of shared users, could gain ground in the business sector as companies seek ever-more inventive ways of reducing costs.
In addition to the potential for financial savings, some experts believe that the transition to the sharing economy aligns with the changing ways in which people consume goods and services.
"If you're traveling to Chicago and your first reaction is to stay at a Hyatt, that's not cool," Lisa Gansky, co-founder of San Francisco-based business incubator MeshLabs, told the news source. "If your first reaction is to stay somewhere through Airbnb, you're clearly paying attention to trends."
Also known as collaborative consumption, the sharing economy is having a positive influence on entrepreneurialism across the U.S. According to USA Today, many people have enthusiastically embraced the emerging business model as a way to maximize utilization of their existing assets to generate additional sources of revenue.
Adam and Joan Hertz, a married couple in San Francisco, told the news source that they frequently rent space in their two-bedroom house in Monterey Heights to business travelers seeking to save money.
"We've hosted some interesting tech entrepreneurs," Hertz told the news source. "We've had people from Australia and Singapore. And the money is nice, too."