Ride-hailing services gain ever-larger share of business travel - report

After slowing to a near standstill in the first quarter, ride-hailing leader Uber picked up two percent to claim a commanding 55 percent of ground transportation overall in the second quarter of 2017, according to travel and entertainment expense management software provider Certify.

The results were announced in Certify’s SpendSmart™ Report for 2Q17, which was issued July 27.

Within the ground transportation category, Lyft matched Uber’s growth, adding two percent to end the quarter with eight percent of category receipts and expenses, giving ride-hailing a total of 63 percent of paid rides.

“Business travelers’ move toward greater personalization and convenience may have started with ride-hailing, but it’s not likely to stop there,” Robert Neveu, CEO of Certify, said. “Mobile technology brought us into a new age, and the expectation and ability to cater to the preferences of the individual is driving a cultural shift that will continue to effect dynamic change throughout the industry.”

Ride-hailing’s gains came largely at the expense of taxi rides, which dropped to a mere eight percent of the category total, the first time SpendSmart data shows taxis with a single-digit share of paid rides. Taxis are also the biggest loser in year-over-year trends, dropping six percentage points compared to the same quarter last year, and the future doesn’t look bright: Certify projects taxi will fall to under one percent of ground transportation expenses and receipts by 1Q18.

Taxis are not the only form of ground transportation to suffer. Car rentals also saw a three-point decline in business travel transactions, netting 29 percent of receipts and expenses in the second quarter.

The report also lists the most-expensed and highest-rated brands for business travelers.

Across the spectrum of business travel services, Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX) continues its reign as the most expensed restaurant, nearly four full percentage points ahead of second-place McDonalds (NYSE:MCD). Delta Air Lines (NYSE:DAL) remains the top seat in air travel, while Hampton Inn hangs on as the most expensed hotel brand.

Transactions for alternative lodging provider Airbnb grew 31 percent in the second quarter, although it remains a small share of the total lodging category with just 0.42 percent overall.


Most-Expensed Restaurants
Starbucks: 6.33 percent of expenses, averaging $14.04 per receipt
McDonald’s: 2.76 percent, averaging $8.64
Panera Bread (NASDAQ:PNRA): 1.62 percent, averaging $42.82
Subway: 1.47 percent, averaging $18.90
Chick-Fil-A: 1.35 percent, averaging $26.29

Most Expensed Restaurants by Meal
Breakfast: Starbucks, 16.87 percent
Lunch: McDonald’s, 3.45 percent
Dinner: McDonald’s,1.72 percent

Top Rated Restaurants (On a scale from 1 to 5, as indicated by travelers)
Chick-Fil-A, 4.5
Starbucks, 4.4
Panera Bread, 4.3
Texas Roadhouse (NASDAQ:TXRH), 4.3
Jimmy John’s, 4.2

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

Most Expensed Airlines
Delta: 19.92 percent, averaging $424.33
American Airlines (NASDAQ:AAL): 19.22 percent, averaging $336.27
United Airlines (NYSE:UAL): 14.69 percent, averaging $379.32
Southwest Airlines (NYSE:LUV): 11.40 percent, averaging $295.81
jetBlue (NASDAQ:JBLU): 1.63 percent, averaging $250.62

Top Rated Airlines
Southwest, 4.5
Alaska Airlines (NYSE:ALK), 4.4
jetBlue, 4.4
Delta, 4.2
American, 3.9

Most Expensed Hotels
Hampton Inn: 9.09 percent, averaging $246.65
Marriott: 8.21 percent, averaging $265.03
Courtyard by Marriott: 7.39 percent, averaging $183.43
Hilton Garden Inn: 471 percent, averaging $217.54
Holiday Inn Express: 4.56 percent, averaging $235.88

Top Rated Hotels
Hyatt, 4.4
Hilton, 4.3
Homewood Suites, 4.3
Marriott, 4.3
Westin, 4.3

Hampton Inn, Hilton Garden Inn, Hilton, Homewood Suites and Embassy Suites are owned by Hilton Worldwide (NASDAQ:HLT). Marriott, Courtyard by Marriott and Westin are brands of Marriott International (NASDAQ:MAR). Hyatt is NYSE:H. Holiday Inn Express is owned by InterContinental Hotel Group (NYSE:IHG).

Most Expensed car rental services
National: 26.55 percent, averaging $189.30
Enterprise: 16.44 percent, averaging $206.17
Hertz: 13.55 percent, averaging $198.34
Avis: 12.24 percent, averaging $171.67
Budget: 3.73 percent, averaging $181.22

Top-rated car rental services
Enterprise 4.4
National 4.4
Hertz 4.2
Avis 4.0
Budget 3.9

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

The Certify SpendSmart™ Repor tracks business travel expense spending across major categories such as food, airlines, lodging and car rental. The report highlights top vendors and emerging trends by analyzing data from more than 10 million expenses and receipts processed through the Certify system. Data is compiled each quarter and at the close of every year to help CFOs, controllers, accountants and business travelers make more informed expense management choices.

Visit my main page at TheTravelPro.us for more news, reviews, and personal observations on the world of upmarket travel.

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