Uber, Lyft and Airbnb Continue to Rise in SpendSmart™ Q3 2015 Report

Uber, Lyft and Airbnb Continue to Rise in SpendSmart™ Q3 2015 Report

With September marking the close of the third quarter of 2015, it’s time to take a look at the latest business travel trends and analysis from the Certify SpendSmart™ Report. Review of quarterly expense and receipt data shows that while preferred vendors for air, hotel and meals remain steady, new sharing economy services such as Uber, Lyft and Airbnb continue to gain traction among corporate users.

According to the data, ridesharing services Uber and Lyft have now replaced taxis as the number one preferred choice of business travelers across the U.S. Further analysis of the Boston market also revealed that ridesharing surpassed rental car as a percent of total ground transportation, 45% to 23%. This is the first time ridesharing reported higher than rental car in any U.S. metro outside of San Francisco.

Uber is of course headquartered in San Francisco, and it’s a city where rental cars never really did well due in part to its public transportation and notorious traffic jams for unfamiliar drivers/would-be car renters. So, it’s hard to say whether what’s happening in Boston is an outlier or the next phase of a growing preference for sharing economy services. What’s clear, however, is business travelers are willing to explore new avenues for traditional services based on convenience and price.

Nationally, ridesharing pioneer Uber remains the leader with 31% of total ground transportation transactions (rideshare, taxi and car rental), compared to 22% for taxi. With 3% of total rides, Lyft continues to realize increased adoption rates in the business traveler segment, and rental car remains the most expensed in the category at 44% of total ground transportation. To see average expense amounts, user ratings, trend data, and more, check out the ridesharing infographic now.

Following up to last quarter’s SpendSmart Report, Certify also analyzed business expense data for Airbnb. Currently the fifth most popular consumer travel-booking website, Airbnb recently stepped up efforts to attract more corporate customers. While receipts show Airbnb has yet to completely win over the business world, Certify analysis identified corporate travelers on average stay twice as long in Airbnb accommodations compared with hotel, 4 nights to 2. Similarly, average expense amounts for Airbnb are more than twice the hotel average, coming in at $745 per expense compared with $294. Users also rate their satisfaction with Airbnb an average of 4.3 stars compared with 3.79 stars for hotels.

Additional analysis of the 8.5 million receipts and expenses logged by Certify this quarter includes top travel vendors and leading brands such as Starbucks, McDonald’s, Subway, Delta, United, Marriott, Hampton Inn, National, and Enterprise. What’s remarkable about the data for the most frequently expensed in these categories is how little the rankings have changed over time. You’d expect some volatility with all the advancements in technology and changes in the global economy, but Starbucks is still the most expensed restaurant now as it was in Q1 2013. One thing that hasn’t remained the same is price: average expense amount for Starbucks in 2013 was $9.03 compared to $10.07 today.

For more “most expensed” categories and additional results from SpendSmart™ Q3 2015, review the full report and infographic now.

The Certify SpendSmart™ Report 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 millions of expenses and receipts processed by the Certify system. Data is compiled each quarter to help controllers, accountants, and business travelers make more informed expense management choices.