The sharing economy has witnessed massive shifts over the last year, leaving a lasting preference for consumers to temporarily own a shared space. From condos to cars, consumers and businesses alike have an opportunity to take advantage of the evolving sharing economy.
We invited three panelists from across industries to join Dealerware’s VP of Marketing and Communications, Courtney White, in a discussion on how consumers’ shifting preferences and circumstances are changing the way they live, work and play.
This INSPIRE session panel included Tom McCollum, President & CEO of Forbes Todd Automotive Group; Alison Kwong, Senior PR Manager at Vrbo; and Sara Magnabosco, Head of Operations at Hacker Paradise.
Adapting to big market shifts.
The first question we asked our panelists gave us some perspective on what changes they have been witnessing in the sharing economy.
“With the pandemic in the last year changing how we consume, what shifts have you seen with what and how people want to share as we shift back into a post-covid world?”
“Vrbo is, in essence, a sharing economy because you share your home with someone you’ve never met, but you’re never sharing a space,” Said Alison Kwong, senior PR manager for Vrbo.
As people became less comfortable with traveling in a COVID-19 stricken world, she siad, a lot of families that may have been worried to travel felt great comfort in going to a destination with a private home. This also provided a great opportunity for memorable first-time experiences for new travelers.
As Tom McCollum is an automotive industry veteran, we were eager to see what shifts he has noticed specifically in that sector.
Tom explained that like many other industries, business slowed significantly at the start of the pandemic which forced Tom’s dealerships to figure out new ways of communicating with people, this meant that first off, most dealers were sharing information that consumers wanted outside of the traditional website and email campaigns. They added new tools to communicate with customers that were shopping from home and added additional services to enhance safety and customer service like picking up or leaving a vehicle at the customer’s home.
He also touched on the significant changes in transportation needs and how today’s young adults aren’t as excited to get their driver’s licenses as they were in years past, a gap that could be filled with Audi’s new car rental program, Silvercar by Audi.
Looking at the shared condo and workspace market, we asked Sarah Magnabsoco of Hacker Paradise what shifts she has seen from people’s ability and desire to work from anywhere.
The INSPIRE panel
Sarah told us that when she started in 2014, working from home was a niche, but her company is now educating people about how beneficial it can be to work remotely, and they’ve seen demand spike over the last year and a half. This has led to changing the perception of working from home in all departments of big businesses.
Alison responded that flexibility in schedules opens up opportunities to travel. Flexibility allowed people a chance to get away from the shelter in place orders and enjoy a home with amenities they might not usually have, like a pool. She shared that survey data shows that after their first experience, 2 out of 3 people say they would take the opportunity to do so again.
We asked Tom if he has seen that the shift with pickup and rental has made a shift with core competencies.
Tom responded that it absolutely has shifted, especially early in the pandemic people wanted to travel without flying or taking a rental so they witnessed more sales and made it easier for the consumer to make purchases… adding to his motto, “know me better, serve me faster, wow me everywhere”.
Forbes Todd Automotive Group
Communications, Dealerware | Moderator
Empowering consumers in a new normal.
Next Courtney asked our panelists, “what tools are critical to enable and empower customers?”
Alison made an interesting point that this has opened up the opportunity to travel when it is convenient rather than only utilizing typical peak vacation seasons, like spring break.
Tom also gave an interesting perspective that we are soon going to see more on-demand features for things that you can pay for as you use, like navigation, which allows consumers to pay for services only when they need them rather than pay full price for something you use one time.
Looking towards the future we wanted to know how this will change Gen Z and Millennial attitudes, Courtney asked, “is this a permanent shift or will ownership still matter?”
Sarah shared that people want to own something, but it is now more of an investment opportunity rather than just a place to live. To add to that, Tom says that supplemental transportation is here to stay and that shifts in ownership will stay with us as well.
Overall, this was another successful INSPIRE session with great insights and perspectives on the sharing economy. To check out the rest of the questions we asked our panelists watch the full recording here.