The so-called “peer-to-peer” or “sharing” economy is starting to have a negative impact on the traditional travel and tourism industry reveals the World Travel Market Industry Report 2014 released today (Monday 3 November).
The annual global survey of World Travel Market exhibitors and buyers found that nearly one-in-five (19%) of those polled admitted their business had been affected by the emergence of peer-to-peer web sites.
Furthermore, the effect of these sites on established businesses has been overwhelmingly negative, with 78% expressing concern about how peer-to-peer sites were impacting their business.
Accommodation sites in particular are gaining traction with UK consumers, the report also found. Nearly one-in-ten (9%) of UK holidaymakers have used a site “such as Airbnb, OneFineStay, Couchsurfing and Flipkey” to book accommodation.
Satisfaction levels are high, with 86% likely to use them again.
However, the sector is not without its critics. Airbnb has faced criticism over health and safety checks, local and corporate taxes and its role in mediating when disputes arise between hosts and guests.
Uber, a ridesharing service which includes private vehicles, has prompted protests across the world from licensed taxi operators.
Airbnb is rumoured to be worth $10 billion while Uber is available via Sabre Holding’s business travel app Tripcase. But other businesses in the sector are feeling the pressure. HouseTrip, which was founded in 2009, has recently announced plans to restructure resulting in a number of role redundancies.
ABTA chairman Noel Josephides compared the peer-to-peer sector with the black economy at the recent ABTA Travel Convention.
Even the UK government has an opinion on peer-to-peer. The Department for Business, Innovation & Skills is launching an independent review of the sharing economy after a PwC study this August found that it could be worth £9bn to the UK by 2025.
Elsewhere, the WTM Global Trends Report 2014 in association with Euromonitor International identified peer-to-peer dining a key trend within Europe.
World Travel Market, Senior Director, Simon Press said: “These findings are a real eye-opener. Nearly one in ten of British travellers have already used a peer-to-peer site to book accommodation and are likely to do so again. Those businesses around the globe which are competing with peer-to-peer need to have a strategy in place.
“World Travel Market is the leading global event for the travel industry and this is a trend we will be keeping an eye on. The industry needs to welcome peer-to-peer in order to understand them better and find ways to compete or co-operate.”
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About World Travel Market
World Travel Market, the leading global event for the travel industry, is the must-attend four-day business-to-business exhibition for the worldwide travel and tourism industry.
More than 50,000 senior travel industry professionals, government ministers and international press, embark on ExCeL – London every November to network, negotiate and discover the latest industry opinion and trends at WTM.
WTM, now in its 35th year, is the event where the travel industry conducts and concludes its deals.
WTM 2013 generated more than £2 billion of travel industry contracts, revealed independent research by Fusion Communications.
WTM is owned by the world’s leading events organiser Reed Exhibitions (RE), which organises a other portfolio’s of travel industry events including IBTM Events, the world’s leading showcases for the meetings and events industry and International Luxury Travel Market events.
In 2013, RE held more than 500 events in 40 countries bringing together more than six million people from around the world generating billions of dollars in business.
Reed Travel Exhibitions (RTE) is the world’s leading provider of exhibitions in the travel and tourism industry, with a wide-ranging portfolio of 21 international events in 14 countries throughout the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, Asia Pacific and Africa.
Its market-leading, business-to-business events cover all elements of travel and tourism, including leisure travel, luxury travel, meetings, events, incentives and business travel, as well as golf, ski and spa travel.
RTE is part of Reed Exhibitions.