Business travellers are increasingly using ride-hailing services such as Uber and Lyft, as well as local competitors, according to travel management company BCD Travel.
Several key global markets are seeing increased competition for the corporate market between ride-hailing firms and traditional taxi operations, said BCD in its 2019 Industry Forecast.
In Europe, Uber has been doing “a good job of attracting business away from taxis” in cities where it is allowed to operate, said BCD. Although its reputation for offering the cheapest fares was “not always deserved”, the TMC added.
Uber is facing more competition in the UK from the entry of India’s Ola ride-hailing service, which is initially operating in the South Wales and Manchester areas.
In North America, BCD said corporates are “still figuring out how to manage ride-hailing within their travel programme”.
“The vast majority don’t tell employees to use Uber or Lyft, for liability reasons, but they don’t discourage these suppliers either,” said the report. “Lyft is competing aggressively with Uber for corporate business and is winning market share.”
BCD also reported that the dominant ride-hailing service in China, Didi Chuxing, is “increasingly being used by business travellers”, as they can easily claim back their expenses as Didi’s drivers are able to issue official taxi receipts.
Competition is also increasing in India where market leader Ola is growing fast but Uber is gaining market share. While in Japan, Uber and Didi are working with local government-supported taxi firms, which are also launching their own ride-hailing technology.
But competition is not likely to increase everywhere, with Uber widely reported to be considering a merger with Careem in the Middle East. Careem has achieved its success through developing technology that can deal with regional issues such as the local payments infrastructure and by accommodating cultural issues.
BCD also highlights the potential impact of IATA’s new One Order programme in 2019. This programme will pull together airline booking information – passenger name records (PNRs), electronic tickets and electronic miscellaneous documents (EMDs) for ancillary purchases – into a single digital order record.
“One Order effectively moves airline administration into a normal e-commerce retail environment…It could eventually include non-air bookings such as hotels and taxis in the same digital process, bringing greater transparency to the whole trip cycle.”
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