Sharing economy catching on with summer travelers

Travelers are much more familiar with sharing economy services than they were two years ago and the result is an increased willingness to utilize platforms such as Lyft, Uber and Airbnb for summer travel.

According to Allianz Global Assistance USA's third annual Travel Insurance Sharing Economy Index, 50 percent of Americans are either somewhat or very likely to use sharing economy services for travel booking this summer, compared to just 17 percent in 2015 and 36 percent last year.

The first-of-its-kind year-on-year study conducted by Ipsos Public Affairs discovered that the rise in utilization correlates with a spike in familiarity.

Nearly eight out of 10 travelers (78 percent) are familiar with sharing economy services in 2017, compared to just 66 percent last year and 47 percent in 2015.

Airbnb and Lyft have made significant strides in terms of increased familiarity among Americans, while Uber remains the most recognizable service.

Travelers are also much more familiar with some lesser-known services than they were two years ago, including HomeAway (up 20 percent from 2015), Feastly (up 12 percent from 2015) and Getaround (up 11 percent from 2015).

"In the years that we’ve conducted the Sharing Economy Index, it has been incredible to see the significant growth in familiarity and use of sharing economy services for summer travel," Allianz Global Assistance USA's director of communications Daniel Durazo said in a statement.

Despite growing familiarity and utilization, only a minority of travelers admit to being "very trusting" of sharing economy services. A majority (48 percent) are "somewhat trustworthy" and 13 percent are "not very trustworthy."

Although the jury is still out on reliability, Americans believe there's better value (35 percent) and more authentic local experiences (33 percent) to be had through sharing economy services compared to traditional services.

Interestingly, travelers favor traditional services when it comes to delivering the best customer support (47 percent).

"We’re seeing more and more travelers, especially millennials, utilizing services like Airbnb because they are seeking value and a locally authentic experience," added Durazo.

While traditional services still top the sharing economy in other categories, including better quality product and booking experience, Allianz's study makes it clear that the sharing economy is quickly closing the gap.


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