When you’re on the road, every minute counts — even more than usual. Add the financial costs of airfare, accommodation, and meals to the opportunity costs of being away from work and family, and you want to be sure that you’re getting the most out of your time on the road.
A new generation of on-demand websites and mobile apps help you do just that: not just Uber and Airbnb, but a whole range of online services that bring the world to your door, wherever your temporary door may be. By making it easy for you to get the transportation, support, and resources you need, peer-to-peer services let you trim the wasted time from your business travel, and even help you rethink the nature of business travel itself.
Those services are most abundant in high-tech hubs like San Francisco, New York, and Seattle, but they are rapidly spreading to other cities. As Jeremiah Owyang and I note in our recent report, The New Rules of the Collaborative Economy, the number of people nationwide who use peer-to-peer car sharing and accommodation has more than doubled in the past year.
So after collaborating with Jeremiah long-distance for 18 months, I was eager to try out for myself some of the on-demand services that he gets to use as a Bay Area denizen, to see how they could transform my two weeks in San Francisco this summer.
If you want to use on-demand apps to squeeze every last minute of value out of your travel, you can and should make them part of your trip from the moment you start planning. Here’s how:
Before you leave
Make room for meetings: Booking your accommodations through Airbnb, VRBO, or another peer-to-peer site allows you to get a space big enough to entertain clients and colleagues. Particularly if you’re traveling with family, it may be easier to arrange casual business meetings if you can bring people back to your place. Look for a spot that offers locals something special: in our case, the rooftop deck of our temporary digs gave our colleagues a new view of their own city.
Pack light: If you’re used to checking a bag because you don’t have time to do laundry, pack a carry-on and get Washio to do your laundry for you. Or skip the packing altogether by using a rental service to get the clothes you need delivered to your destination: borrow the outfit you need for a major presentation or event from Rent the Runway (women) or The Black Tux (men). If you’re a frequent traveler, you may want to subscribe to a monthly service like The Ms. Collection, The Mr. Collection, or Le Tote, all of which send you a monthly box of garments; just arrange for each month’s box to be delivered to your destination that month.