I've written before about how travel has changed over the last 20 years. I've never really looked at it from a business travel point of view before though. Let's put that right. Here, I talk about how the sharing economy has progressed over time, and is now providing business travel solutions.
What is the Sharing Economy?
The concept of a sharing economy has probably been around for as long as the first caveman offered another caveman a warm cave for the night in return for a mammoth steak. Its most common usage though, is connected with the internet. That good old source of all knowledge, Wikipedia, has a a huge article here on the sharing economy. I prefer the Oxford Dictionaires definition:
An economic system in which assets or services are shared between private individuals, either free or for a fee, typically by means of the Internet.
I would add that the purpose of the sharing economy is to provide either a cheaper alternative to existing services, or a superior and personalised service that does not exist anywhere else. To my knowledge, (and I am happy to be corrected here), the first truly internet based sharing economy service for travel was couchsurfing.
Couchsurfing was based on the concept of people offering their couches or a bed as a place to stay for people visiting a city. There were no fees involved, and the entire concept was built on creating a community. It is popular with people who want to get to know a destination a little better, meet the locals, and mingle with like-minded people. Some people say that couchsurfing is no longer what it used to be, but it is still a great idea to try at least once in your life.
Whilst back in the day, some people may have combined business travel with couchsurfing, especially in expensive cities like London, as far as business travel solutions go, it is not ideal.
It didn't take long for someone to realise that they could monetize the concept of couchsurfing, and so AirBnB was born. This took the online sharing economy a step further, and allowed people to rent out spare rooms to people travelling. It was a major development in the travel industry, and really opened everything up. Personally, I have yet to try it. I have heard a few times that people have had hosts cancel on them at the last minute, meaning that they had to take expensive accommodation in hotels instead.
For business travellers, AirBnB provides a halfway solution. It is probably more suited to the digital nomad crowd than corporate travellers, as they tend to be more flexible. The problem of last minute cancellations meant that there was a gap for more specific business travel solutions in the sharing economy though. Step forward MetroResidences.
Business Travel Solutions
MetroResidences is a startup based in Singapore. They have realised that there is a need for a more reliable way for business travellers to take advantage of the sharing economy.
By offering a range of fully serviced corporate apartments, it is now possible for business travellers to Singapore to find high quality accommodation with reliable services including good internet access.