Ride-hailing services now score majority of business rides

Ride-hailing services Uber and Lyft now control the majority of paid ground transportation among business travelers, according to a report based on business expense reports filed during the third quarter of 2016.

According to data compiled by automated travel and entertainment expense management software provider Certify, ride-hailing services Uber and Lyft were claimed on 52 percent of the expense reports that had expenses for ground transportation. Uber continued to dominate the category at 48 percent while Lyft had four percent of the market.

Car rentals continue to decline and were at 36 percent while traditional taxi use continues to decline and accounted for only 12 percent of paid rides.

The results were based on the analysis of more than 10 million business expense reports processed by Certify for 3Q16. They are detailed in the Certify SpendSmart report, which is compiled each quarter as a tool to help controllers, accountants and business travelers make informed choices about company T&E expense spending, according to the company.

“Of all the disruptive technologies to come out of the sharing economy over the past several years, nothing has captured the interest of businesspeople or captured more headlines in the media than Uber and global rise of ride hailing,” Robert Neveu, Certify CEO said in a statement.

Certify initially identified the emerging ride-hailing growth trend among U.S. business travelers in the first quarter of 2014, and the most recent data shows the continuation of that trend in the corporate travel segment.

"It’s remarkable to see that ride hailing is now more frequently expensed by business travelers than taxi and car rental combined, and more popular than taxi at anytime during the three years Certify has been reporting on this data,” Neveu added.

Ride-hailing isn't the only player in the sharing economy that is experiencing growth. AirBnB is also becoming increasingly popular with business travelers.

While currently accounting for only 0.31 percent of total hotel receipts and expenses, that represents a whopping 49 percent increase from 2Q16 to 3Q16, the company reported, showing traction in its position as a viable alternative to traditional hotels.

“AirBnB’s impressive growth on the quarter is another indication of the changing tastes and preferences in business travel today," Neveu told TheTravelPro in an email. "We’re seeing in our data that corporate travelers are likely turning to AirBnB to find more of the comforts of home during extended trips, or for group lodging with multiple team members."

The SpendSmart report also showed business travelers’ preferences in air travel providers, business meals and lodging. As in previous reports, there are some discrepancies between the travelers' preferred providers and those that are actually expensed the most often. For example, although travelers named Hilton Hotels and Westin Hotels and their favorite and third-favorite, respectively, neither chain was among the top five of hotel stays actually expensed.

While the report does not provide a reason for the differences between the preferred providers and those used, factors are likely to include corporate travel policies and vendor agreements, availability of the preferred providers at the time of travel, and other reasons.

Most Expensed Restaurants: 
Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX): 4.82 percent of expenses, averaging $11.31 per receipt
McDonald’s (NYSE:MCD): 2.97 percent, averaging $8.64
Panera Bread (NASDAQ:PNRA): 1.65 percent, averaging $41.14
Subway: 1.59 percent, averaging $15.76
Dunkin’ Donuts (NASDAQ:DNKN): 1.36 percent, averaging $12.21

While the percentages and average costs varied slightly from 2Q16, the rankings were unchanged.

Most Expensed Restaurants by Meal 
Breakfast: Starbucks, 15.56 percent, averaging $8.67
Lunch: McDonald's, 3.57 percent, averaging $7.29
Dinner: McDonald’s, 1.89 percent, averaging $8.24

Highest Rated Restaurants (On a scale from 1 to 5, as indicated by travelers)
Chick-Fil-A 4.4
Panera Bread 4.3
Chipotle (NYSE:CMG) 4.2
Starbucks 4.2
Texas Roadhouse  (NASDAQ:TXRG) 4.2
Cracker Barrel (NASDAQ:CBRL) 4.1
Jimmy John's 4.1
Dunkin Donuts 4.0
Olive Garden 4.0
Outback Steakhouse 4.0
Buffalo Wild Wings (NASDAQ:BWLD) 3.9
Pizza Hut 3.9
Ruby Tuesday (NYSE:RT) 3.8
Subway 3.8
Applebee's 3.7

Olive Garden is owned by Daren Restaurants Inc. (NASDAQ:DRI). Outback Steakhouse is owned by Bloomin' Brands Inc. (NASDAQ:BLMN).  Pizza Hut is owned by Yum! Brands Inc. (NYSE:YUM). Applebee's is owned by DineEquity Inc. (NYSE:DIN).

Subway Sandwiches, Chick-Fil-A and Jimmy John's are privately held companies.

Most Expensed Airlines 
American Airlines (NASDAQ:AAL): 20.23 percent, averaging $312.36
Delta (NYSE:DAL): 20.21 percent, averaging $432.85
United Airlines (NYSE:UAL): 13.82 percent, averaging $397.23
Southwest Airlines (NYSE:LUV): 11.68 percent, averaging $295.02
Alaska Airlines (NYSE:ALK): 1.44 percent, averaging $262.24

Top Rated Airlines (On a scale from 1 to 5, as indicated by travelers)
Southwest Airlines 4.6
Alaska Airlines 4.
jetBlue (NASDAQ:JBLU) 4.4
Delta 4.2
American Airlines 3.6

Most-Expensed Hotels 
Hampton Inn: 9.44 percent, averaging $283.63 per stay
Marriott: 7.83 percent; $242.08
Courtyard by Marriott: 7.13 percent, $175.74
Holiday Inn Express: 5.04 percent, $221.04
Hilton Garden Inn: 4.83 percent, $208.20
Hilton: 3.93 percent, $224.27
Holiday Inn: 3.65 percent, $185.55
DoubleTree: 3.59 percent, $211.33
Fairfield Inn: 2.34 percent, $216.72
Hyatt: 2.28 percent, $239.50
Comfort Inn; 1.81 percent, $177.32
Embassy Suites; 1.63 percent, $263
Sheraton; 1.58%, $237.05
Best Western: 1.39 percent, $230.65
Residence Inn: 1.17 percent, $334.96

Top Rated Hotels (On a scale from 1 to 5, as indicated by travelers) resulted in a five-way time. All five hotels -- Hilton Garden Inn, Homewood Suites, Hyatt, Marriott, and Residence Inn -- were rated 4.3

Hampton Inn, Hilton Garden Inn, Hilton, DoubleTree, Homewood Suites and Embassy Suites are owned by Hilton Worldwide (NASDAQ:HLT). Hyatt is NYSE:H while Marriott, Fairfield Inn, Sheraton and Residence Inn are brands of Marriott International (NASDAQ:MAR).

Holiday Inn and Holiday Inn Express are owned by InterContinental Hotel Group (NYSE:IHG), while Comfort Inn is owned by Choice Hotels International (NYSE:CHH). Best Western is a privately-held brand that has more than 4,000 independently owned and operated hotels around the world.

Most Expensed Car-Rental Services
National: 25.5 percent, $185.92 per rental
Hertz: 15.14 percent, $198.74
Enterprise: 14.88 percent, $208.01
Avis: 13.66 percent, $183.07
Budget: 4.09 percent, $202.66

Top Rated Car-Rental Services (On a scale from 1 to 5, as indicated by travelers)
Enterprise: 4.3
National: 4.3
Avis: 4.0
Hertz: 4.0
Budget: 3.8

Hertz is (NYSE:HTZ); all other rental car companies are operated by Enterprise Holdings, which is privately held.

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