Young travellers more likely to use share economy services

Young people planning to spend less on summer vacations are more likely to use share economy services, otherwise known as peer to peer platforms like Airbnb, Uber, Lyft and Feastly for travel in 2015, revealed the latest annual Allianz Travel Vacation Index.

Released by Allianz Global Assistance USA, the study found that Americans will spend almost $13 billion less on summer vacations in 2015 compared to the previous year, a decline led by young value-seeking travellers (between 18 and 34 years) using share economy services.

The study highlighted that the majority of young people (60%) trust the peer to peer economy, compared to 37% of other travellers. Only 17% of respondents said they’re likely to use a sharing economy service during their summer vacation this year, while 28% of young adults under 35 are planning to book their travel in these non-traditional ways.

However, all age groups of travellers agreed that better experiences and services were provided by established methods to organise travel such as online services, travel agencies or booking directly with a hotel, restaurant or hire car service.

“While sharing economy services can potentially save time, money, and offer unique experiences, many require payment in advance,” said Joe Mason, chief marketing officer at Allianz Global Assistance USA.

“Travellers opting for shared economy services should protect their travel investment with travel insurance. The right policy will protect a consumer’s investment regardless of whether it’s made with the new sharing economy or with more established methods”, he said.

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While the study analysed American travellers, there has been significant uptake of share economy services in Australia with a doubling of Australian listings on Airbnb in the past 12 months to 40,000, according to the Financial Review.

And it’s not all travel-related, Airtasker, a local online and mobile marketplace in which businesses and individuals outsource jobs to users has grown by more than 50% and during March booked $1.3 million worth of tasks reported the Australian.

Airtasker co-founder, Tim Fung told the Australian, “the sharing economy is really just the phenomenon in which individual people can now connect via smarter, more accessible technology for the purpose of commerce without having to be part of big companies or having big resources.”