The growing number of millennials joining the workforce in China and their keen interest in sharing economy travel products will require changes to corporate travel programmes, opined leaders at Carlson Wagonlit Travel (CWT).
Kelly L Kuhn, executive vice president and chief customer officer, CWT, said in her CTW China presentation last Wednesday: “Millennials are comfortable with Airbnb and similar offerings as (they offer an experience of) being home away from home. The sharing economy is here to stay.”
Aibiying, as Airbnb is known in China
Kai Chan, president, Asia Pacific, CWT, believes sharing economy accommodation and transportation services should be included in corporate travel programmes to meet demand.
She said: “There is nothing wrong with including them as long as you can track your travellers at all times.”
A travel manager with a technology company in Shanghai said: “Didi Chuxing was legalised by the government last year and its operations are regulated. This makes working with them possible and we are in talks. But before we work with them, we have to ensure a system is in place to track client movements.”
A travel manager of an MNC with offices in China, said while adoption is dependent on his headquarters in Germany, he personally prefers to book with traditional hotel suppliers which ensures accomplishment of duty of care responsibilities.
According to Kuhn, China has a huge growth potential for managed travel. China’s business travel market is forecasted to be valued at US$345 billion in 2017, up from US$260 billion in 2015. However, only 20 per cent of Chinese companies are managing travel today.