The emergence of collaborative consumption as a class of economic transactions is defined by peer-to-peer (P2P) partnerships. The next phase in cooperative exchange, collaborative consumption is now a force in the UK travel industry.

P2P, a Global Marketplace

Consumer-end collaborative consumption models have virtually defined the online auction marketplace. Participation on sites like eBay evidence that if there is a viral approach to building consumer equity into business decision, P2P is it.

Travel P2P is seeing exceptional response. Vayable, Guidehop, and Withlocals are making inroads in the P2P travel market. Guided tours are popular, as seen in traveler response to Pedal England UK’s custom or  - more international – local guided tours in Asia.

The potential for partnership between UK tour companies and alternative transportation collaborations is high (as you can see in the Slideshare from Ouishare). Hoteliers, transportation services and other businesses frequently used by travel consumers stand to profit. Custom tour itineraries, discounts, gratuities and flexible substitution of cancelled arrangements last minute all offer incredible P2P value.

Task assignments and other work-based outsourcing platforms are now seeing an increased demand for P2P development and management of project resources to cross-country initiatives. International workgroups may extend resources beyond a single initiative, event or conference meeting.

P2P in the UK

If the recent global financial crisis capitulated the P2P finance model, small cooperatives in the travel industry and other sectors have benefited from such transactions. In the UK, co-working environments came to epitomize the collaborative consumption approach. These commercial lease arrangements entitle members to shared access to products and services. The microloan sector supports incubation of business start-ups through P2P lending.

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True to the UK’s position as a global financial centre, the country’s collaborative consumption focus tends to be on peer-to-peer lending. British consumers tend to take advantage of P2P finance more than their European counterparts.

Micro-lending opportunities through companies like Zopa, Funding Circle and RateSetter extend business credit to small businesses in the UK, now a reported 2% of the nation’s retail loan market.

The general push for P2P lending to small and medium-sized (SME) enterprises in UK Government policy has set the stage for such a response. Online P2P lending is now responsible for the funding of more than £250 million in microloans to customers to date in the country.

With more than 4,000 P2P start-ups operating in the UK, it is not surprising that P2P is catching on as an accepted business model in key segments like travel. More than an economic ideal, P2P  economics is quite simply, reputation capital.

Peer-to-peer lending allows companies to gain investment from people directly via an online marketplace. - Steph McGovern reports for BBC

Credits video: BBC