To share or not to share? How to decide if sharing economy services are right for your corporate travel policy

Today, it’s not really a question of whether your travelers are using sharing economy ride services. It’s a question of how many. While more and more business travelers are using ride sharing services, many travel programs have still not clearly addressed the topic in their travel policies.

An Egencia client shares the steps she took to evaluate and implement a ride sharing travel policy:

Step 1: Understand Current Usage

Before making any decisions, our client wanted to know how many people were using ride sharing services and who they were. She pulled credit card data to find these answers, but other travel managers could also use expense data or contact the vendors to find out how many accounts are tied to a company’s e-mail address.
The travel manager results were staggering – She found that her company’s ride sharing spend (Uber and Lyft) had gone up 6,000% between Q1 2014 and Q1 2015.

Step 2: Evaluate Risk Levels for Your Travelers

Given the prevalent use of ride sharing service, the travel manager decided it was time to evaluate the safety and security of these services. She spoke with multiple sources to ensure all angles were covered.
First, she asked their chauffeured car vendors to explain how their security and operational processes differed from ride sharing services, keeping in mind that they would have a slight bias. Our client then reached out to Uber and Lyft for information about their security policies, background checks, and operational procedures.

Next, she consulted the company’s newly hired Director of Security. Drawing on his law enforcement background, he explained why the company would want its vendors to conduct criminal background checks and why fingerprinting is important.

Finally, the travel manager reached out to her insurance provider to make sure ride sharing services were covered in their policy and any additional steps they might need to take.

Step 3: Test Options

This travel manager’s team always tests new technology themselves before rolling it out to travelers. During the testing phase, they learned how to use the vendors’ tools so they could identify any issues or questions traveler may ask.

Testing then moved into the beta phase. Our client carefully selected an audience, which included the company’s meeting team, IT team, and tech-savvy travelers. These groups were chosen because they had historically offered thoughtful advice and the travel manager’s team knew they would identify any potential onboarding or operational issues.

Step 4: Build Ride Services into Your Policy

After deciding to allow ride sharing services, the travel manager had to update the company’s corporate travel policy. She wrote a policy that clearly stated the “do’s” and “don’ts” of ride sharing. She also included short, but impactful safety tips for travelers as shown below.

Safety Tips for Travelers – Check Before You Step into the Car

  • Before stepping into a vehicle, you should make sure the license plate and driver match what is shown on the Uber or Lyft apps.
  • The passenger should be greeted by name when stepping into the vehicle.
  • Uber and Lyft do perform background checks on drivers, but if you ever feel uncomfortable, stop your ride and get out of the car.

Finally, the travel manager provided shortcuts that linked to the company’s expense tool, making it easier for travelers to submit their reports.

Sharing is Caring

As a result of this travel manager’s groundwork, her company’s travelers have been very happy with the new ride sharing policy and so has her team. Even more importantly, their new travel policy makes clear what is safe for the company’s business travelers, which is always the travel management team’s foremost concern.