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ground transport

In the driving

sEat

The world of taxis and chauffeur hire is not one to stand idle, reports Nick Easen, who discovers a fast-paced and increasingly innovative sector

I

t is said that we live in turbulent times – and the taxi, transfer and chauffeuring sector demonstrates this alarmingly well. On-demand vehicles, booked instantly via mobile phones, is now the norm for the general public. And so it is no surprise that business travellers expect the same experience when on company time. As a result, everyone in the industry is having to step up and deliver. “The current rate of change has never been so fast. This space continues to evolve with technology as its driving force,” explains Craig Chambers,

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Group CEO of TBR Global Chauffeuring. Ride-hailing services abound, led by Uber and Lyft and followed by challengers such as Kapten, Bolt, Gett, FreeNow, Ola and Kabbee, to name just a few. Bloated by investor money, they’re maturing rapidly and becoming an integral part of the mix.

Hail storm

Today’s ground transport scene is a far cry from booking Addison Lee over the phone a decade ago. Digitally enlightened natives are setting the bar high when it comes to booking experiences. Ease of use, flexibility, seamlessness and cost savings are the new buzzwords. They’re lapping up a new cohort of travellers – Generation Y and beyond – who are invading the corporate scene and happy to book everything via smartphone. “There has certainly been a shift in focus from the buyer, arranger and traveller to being more focused on the interface with the provider,” says Greg Mendoza, Regional Vice President for International Operations at Carey International. A change in booking patterns also has travel managers, policy makers and travel management companies sitting up in their swivel chairs. That’s because this sector has been overlooked, until now.

Executive travellers have been largely left to their own devices, quite literally. Yet with changing buying patterns comes a notable change in attitudes. “The industry increasingly views transfer and chauffeur services as the next big opportunity after flights and hotels, as part of taking a more holistic view of managed travel,” explains Angelina Bunting, Commercial Director at Reed Mackay. Remarkably, over 50% of companies still have no restrictions in place with regards to taxis, or have nothing specified within their travel policy, according to a recent survey. “Taxis are one of the least regulated modes of transport,” states Leanne Riley, Business Travel Specialist at CMAC Group, whose company conducted the poll. “The main challenge is finding the time to prioritise ground transportation and also finding a way of incorporating taxi travel into an existing programme.” Taxis are still considered one of those petty expenses you can sort out easily with accounts at a later date. Yet road travel can contribute to 10% or more of any corporate travel budget. It’s therefore increasingly on the radar for managed travel programmes. This is at a time when it’s becoming increasingly difficult to contain, since there’s a proliferation of choice. 

THEBUSINESSTRAVELMAG.COM

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1/28/20 06:48 PM

Profile for BMI Publishing Ltd

The Business Travel Magazine - February/March 2020  

The multi-award-winning publication written and produced for bookers, buyers, arrangers and managers of business travel and meetings. This i...

The Business Travel Magazine - February/March 2020  

The multi-award-winning publication written and produced for bookers, buyers, arrangers and managers of business travel and meetings. This i...