Companies need as much diversity in ride services as they have in airline and hotel suppliers – if not more.
The reason is the variety of rides employees take. Ground transportation is often discussed as a uniform service. This view, though, doesn’t reflect the realities (pardon the pun) on the ground.
For example, an on-demand ride from a New York convention centre to a restaurant greatly differs from a Shanghai airport ride to a downtown hotel. Also, the needs of an individual traveller to the airport vary from those of executives on a multi-city road show. A company’s 200-person annual sales meeting has unique demands, too.
Furthermore, each provider has different strengths and weaknesses. Taxis and ride-hailing specialise in short-distance, inner-city mobility. But there are no global quality and security standards for vehicles or the overall experience.
Many local minicab services have fleets in one city or sometimes a few cities in one country. But they lack a multi-national reach and English-speaking drivers. Legacy limo services have trouble fulfilling rides at certain times of the day or on short notice. And many ride services impede cost certainty with added fees or incomplete receipts.
UBS Bank, based in the City of London, takes the multi-vendor approach. Anne Barlow, head of U.K. and NEEMEA (Northern and Eastern Europe, Middle East, and Africa) travel operations, told Buying Business Travel that the company uses four ground transportation vendors. The decision was based on duty-of-care concerns and the challenge of finding cars between 10 pm and 1 am.
We recommend companies to use both scheduled and on-demand services. Scheduled suppliers give travellers the peace of mind to seamlessly book rides, flights and hotels at the same time. All segments then have guaranteed, all-inclusive prices. We also suggest including a service that provides English-speaking drivers worldwide. This eases travellers’ international trips, especially in new countries.
On-demand services, like taxis and ride-hailing, serve travellers' immediate ride needs. UBS Bank’s policy allows for ride-hailing “at the traveller’s discretion for non-pre-booked journeys.”
While organisations’ needs differ, those with a range of suppliers will best serve employees locally and abroad. Plus, you gain the most control over ground transportation costs and can scale your program as your company expands.
This post was written by Sascha Meskendahl, Chief Revenue Officer, Blacklane, exhibitors at The Business Travel Show - click on the link to register for a free visitor pass.