SpendSmart™ Report

Certify SpendSmart™ Report

How business travelers are spending the corporate dime while on the road

The Certify SpendSmart™ quarterly report analyzes the most recent business expense transactions and vendor ratings data to provide valuable insights to Certify clients and the corporate T&E industry at large.


2019 Year in Review

FULL YEAR 2019 | January 1, 2019 - December 31, 2019

The SpendSmart™ Year in Review Report tracks T&E spending benchmarks drawn from more than $5.1B in expense transactions processed by Certify in 2019. We identify the leading expense categories, most expensed brands, and those who are earning the highest ratings.

HOW THE T&E BUDGET WAS SPENT IN 2019

Ride hailing overtook meals as the most expensed category in 2019, with 17.5% of all transactions. This is the first time the meals expense category hasn't been number one since 2015—reinforcing the value of reviewing and analyzing your company's spending every year.

T&E Category Benchmark Averages in 2019
% of receipts by category
Ride Hailing 17.5%
Meals 16.8%
Airfare 13.1%
Miscellaneous 12.0%
Fuel 11.4%
Hotel 11.1%
Supplies 4.9%
Cell Phone 4.0%
Car Rental 3.9%
Grocery 2.2%
Shipping 1.8%
Parking 0.8%
Tolls 0.5%
AVERAGE TRANSACTION COST BY EXPENSE CATEGORY

With 10 out of 13 categories seeing an increase in average expense costs, organizations spent more on T&E in 2019. Airfare saw the largest increase in average cost, while the tolls and miscellaneous categories saw a significant decrease.

Category 2019 Average
Expense Cost
Change
from 2018
Ride Hailing $24.86 +$0.60
Meals $39.09 +$7.01
Airfare $308.40 +$30.75
Miscellaneous $115.50 -$4.80
Fuel $37.58 +$0.72
Hotel $268.09 +$3.63
Supplies $111.48 -$3.84
Cell Phone $97.26 +$5.40
Car Rental $198.96 +$5.97
Grocery $71.28 +$0.50
Shipping $150.76 +$18.18
Parking $40.42 +$3.38
Tolls $37.88 -$8.10
*Ride hailing category includes taxis and sharing economy vendors.
Percent of total annual company T&E spend by expense category based on more than 50 million business traveler receipts and expenses processed by the Certify system in 2019. Certify does not have visibility into whether parking and toll expenses were multiple transactions or a single expense line item.

MOST EXPENSED VENDORS OVERALL

Amazon, Delta, Lyft, Starbucks, and Uber continue to battle for the title of most expensed vendor overall. Ride hailing giant Uber maintains its number one spot with 12.6% of all transactions.

Vendor 2019
Expense Percentage
2018
Expense Percentage
2017
Expense Percentage
Uber 12.6% 11.0% 8.7%
Amazon 4.9% 4.0% 3.6%
Starbucks 4.0% 4.1% 4.2%
Lyft 3.7% 2.8% *
Delta 3.5% 3.6% 3.8%
American Airlines 3.4% 3.4% 3.5%
United Airlines 2.7% 2.7% 2.7%
Walmart 2.7% 2.7% 2.7%
Southwest Airlines 2.6% 2.8% 2.8%
Shell 2.4% 2.5% 2.6%
* Vendor did not reach threshold for most expensed vendors overall.

Most Expensed Vendors By Category

The most expensed brands by category remain unchanged from our 2018 Year in Review Report, except for the hotel category. Marriott overtook Hampton Inn as the most expensed hotel in 2019.

Meals Starbucks 24.4%
Hotel Marriott 16.8%
Car Rental National Car Rental 36.8%
Ride Hailing Uber 73.2%
Airfare Delta 26.4%
The Brands Business Travelers Love Most

The highest rated brands in 2019 have found the right balance of convenience, quality, and price when catering to the needs of business travelers.

Meals Chick-Fil-A 4.7
Hotel Marriott 4.5
Car Rental National Car Rental 4.5
Ride Hailing Lyft 4.7
Airfare Southwest Airlines 4.6
*Expense percentage represents the number of expenses divided by the total number of expenses for the expense type.
**Average rating represents the average 1 through 5 star rating for all expenses for each vendor, with 5 stars being the highest rating and 1 being the lowest.
The highest rated brands of 2019 based on full-year SpendSmart user rating averages for the top-five most expensed brands by category.

Restaurant Summary

Includes all meal expenses for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Data indicates which vendor is most frequently expensed, the average amount per transaction, and average user ratings.


Most Expensed
Starbucks 24.4%
McDonald’s 11.6%
Chick-Fil-A 8.2%
Panera Bread 7.3%
Dunkin’ 6.5%
Average Cost
Panera Bread $53.60
Chick-Fil-A $31.64
Dunkin' $14.89
Starbucks $13.23
McDonald’s $10.31
Average User Rating
Chick-Fil-A 4.7
Panera Bread 4.5
Starbucks 4.5
Dunkin' 4.4
McDonald’s 3.8
*Expense percentage represents the number of expenses divided by the total number of expenses for the expense type.
**Average rating represents the average 1 through 5 star rating for all expenses for each vendor, with 5 stars being the highest rating and 1 being the lowest.
The highest rated brands of 2019 based on full-year SpendSmart user rating averages for the top-five most expensed brands by category.

Lodging Summary

Includes all room night expenses charged to the lodging category. Data shows the most frequently expensed vendors, average cost per expense, and average user ratings.


Most Expensed
Marriott 16.8%
Hampton Inn 14.7%
Courtyard by Marriott 12.1%
Holiday Inn Express 7.8%
Hilton Garden Inn 7.7%
Average Cost
Marriott $307.47
Hampton Inn $248.65
Holiday Inn Express $247.79
Hilton Garden Inn $236.61
Courtyard by Marriott $205.32
Average User Rating
Marriott 4.5
Courtyard by Marriott 4.4
Hilton Garden Inn 4.4
Hampton Inn 4.3
Holiday Inn Express 3.2
*Expense percentage represents the number of expenses divided by the total number of expenses for the expense type.
**Average rating represents the average 1 through 5 star rating for all expenses for each vendor, with 5 stars being the highest rating and 1 being the lowest.
The highest rated brands of 2019 based on full-year SpendSmart user rating averages for the top-five most expensed brands by category. Average lodging cost for most expensed hotels may represent a per night, or per trip transaction average.

Airline Summary

The airline summary includes all expenses for booked airfare. Data identifies which vendor is most frequently expensed, the average expense amount, and the average user rating.


Most Expensed
Delta 26.4%
American Airlines 25.9%
United Airlines 20.6%
Southwest Airlines 19.9%
Alaska Airlines 3.0%
Average Cost
Delta $439.51
United Airlines $376.77
American Airlines $358.17
Southwest Airlines $292.92
Alaska Airlines $285.69
Average User Rating
Southwest Airlines 4.6
Alaska Airlines 4.5
Delta 4.5
American Airlines 4.2
United Airlines 4.1
*Expense percentage represents the number of expenses divided by the total number of expenses for the expense type.
**Average rating represents the average 1 through 5 star rating for all expenses for each vendor, with 5 stars being the highest rating and 1 being the lowest.
The highest rated brands of 2019 based on full-year SpendSmart user rating averages for the top-five most expensed brands by category.

Car Rental Summary

Rental cars were an important tool in a business traveler's arsenal, even with the increased availability of ride hailing and alternative transportation options.


Most Expensed
National Car Rental 36.8%
Enterprise Rent-a-Car 23.1%
Hertz Car Rental 22.3%
AVIS Car Rental 16.7%
Budget Car Rental 1.1%
Average Cost
Enterprise Rent-a-Car $236.76
Hertz Car Rental $191.64
National Car Rental $187.61
AVIS Car Rental $184.64
Budget Car Rental $182.63
Average User Rating
National Car Rental 4.5
Enterprise Rent-a-Car 4.4
Hertz Car Rental 4.2
AVIS Car Rental 4.1
Budget Car Rental 3.8
*Expense percentage represents the number of expenses divided by the total number of expenses for the expense type.
**Average rating represents the average 1 through 5 star rating for all expenses for each vendor, with 5 stars being the highest rating and 1 being the lowest.
The highest rated brands of 2019 based on full-year SpendSmart user rating averages for the top-five most expensed brands by category.

Scooter Rental Summary

Scooter rentals are continuing to show up in expense reports. First-to-market leaders Bird and Lime continue to dominate with a combined 92% of transactions in 2019.


Most Expensed
Lime 50.0%
Bird 42.1%
Skip 3.9%
Razor 3.8%
Scoot 0.2%
Average Cost
Bird $10.28
Skip $8.83
Scoot $8.73
Lime $6.88
Razor $4.85
Average User Rating
Skip 5.0
Lime 4.9
Bird 4.5
Razor *
Scoot *
*Expense percentage represents the number of expenses divided by the total number of expenses for the expense type.
**Average rating represents the average 1 through 5 star rating for all expenses for each vendor, with 5 stars being the highest rating and 1 being the lowest.
The highest rated brands of 2019 based on full-year SpendSmart user rating averages for the top-five most expensed brands by category.
*Vendor did not reach threshold for average user rating.

Ride Hailing Summary

Business travelers and consumers continued to place a premium on convenience in 2019. Ride hailing companies saw small increases to their receipt count—overshadowing traditional taxis yet again.


Most Expensed
Uber 73.2%
Lyft 21.4%
Taxi 5.4%
Average Cost
Taxi $34.55
Uber $25.81
Lyft $25.35
Average User Rating
Lyft 4.7
Uber 4.5
Taxi 4.0
*Expense percentage represents the number of expenses divided by the total number of expenses for the expense type.
**Average rating represents the average 1 through 5 star rating for all expenses for each vendor, with 5 stars being the highest rating and 1 being the lowest.
The highest rated brands of 2019 based on full-year SpendSmart user rating averages for the top-five most expensed brands by category.

Food Delivery Summary

Businesses and their traveling employees are choosing to bring the comfort of a warm meal to their offices and hotel rooms, shifting away from traditional dining. The category has seen 86% year-over-year growth compared with 2018.


Most Expensed
Doordash 29.5%
Grubhub 27.3%
Uber Eats 25.6%
Postmates 12.3%
Seamless 5.3%
Average Cost
Seamless $86.09
Grubhub $60.52
Doordash $54.13
Postmates $43.40
Uber Eats $24.59
Average User Rating
Seamless 4.8
Uber Eats 4.6
Doordash 4.5
Postmates 4.5
Grubhub 4.2
*Average rating represents the average 1 through 5 star rating for all expenses for each vendor, with 5 stars being the highest rating and 1 being the lowest.
The highest rated brands of 2019 based on full-year SpendSmart user rating averages for the top-five most expensed brands by category.

About This Report: The Certify SpendSmart™ Report provides a snapshot of the current spend trends of business travelers in North America with all data compiled from actual expense data from submitted expense reports.

For all media inquires please contact Tim Wheatcroft of Certify, pr@certify.com or 888-781-0088 x4468.

Archived SpendSmart™ Reports

  • Certify SpendSmart™ Report - Second Quarter Report, 2019 View Report
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  • Certify SpendSmart™ Report - Fourth Quarter Report, 2018 View Report
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  • Certify SpendSmart™ Report - Second Quarter Report, 2018 View Report
  • Certify SpendSmart™ Report - First Quarter Report, 2018 View Report
  • Certify SpendSmart™ Report - Fourth Quarter Report, 2017 View Report
  • Certify SpendSmart™ Report - Third Quarter Report, 2017 View Report
  • Certify SpendSmart™ Report - Second Quarter Report, 2017 View Report
  • Certify SpendSmart™ Report - First Quarter Report, 2017 View Report
  • Certify SpendSmart™ Report - Fourth Quarter Report, 2016 View Report
  • Certify SpendSmart™ Report - Third Quarter Report, 2016 View Report
  • Certify SpendSmart™ Report - Second Quarter Report, 2016 View Report
  • Certify SpendSmart™ Report - First Quarter Report, 2016 View Report
  • Certify SpendSmart™ Report - Fourth Quarter Report, 2015 View Report
  • Certify SpendSmart™ Report - Third Quarter Report, 2015 View Report
  • Certify SpendSmart™ Report - Second Quarter Report, 2015 View Report
  • Certify SpendSmart™ Report - First Quarter Report, 2015 View Report
  • Certify SpendSmart™ Report - Fourth Quarter Report, 2014 View Report
  • Certify SpendSmart™ Report - Third Quarter Report, 2014 View Report
  • Certify SpendSmart™ Report - Second Quarter Report, 2014 View Report
  • Certify SpendSmart™ Report - First Quarter Report, 2014 View Report
  • Certify SpendSmart™ Report - Fourth Quarter Report, 2013 View Report
  • Certify SpendSmart™ Report - Third Quarter Report, 2013 View Report
  • Certify SpendSmart™ Report - Second Quarter Report, 2013 View Report
  • Certify SpendSmart™ Report - First Quarter Report, 2013 View Report
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