Certify Releases Fifth Report on Quarterly Business Expenses

Certify Releases Fifth Report on Quarterly Business Expenses
The travel and expense management leader’s quarterly SpendSmart report finds that when targeting the business consumer, cost is not always the primary driver for preferred vendors.
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PORTLAND, MAINE, April 10, 2014 – Leading cloud-based travel and expense management software provider Certify announced the results of its latest business spending report, covering the first quarter of 2014. Affordable convenience food still rules, but when it comes to airlines, hotels and rental cars, cost is not the primary driver for selecting vendors, according to the data.

Last quarter, Starbucks showed staying power with the business crowd, capturing the lion share of meal receipts for the fifth quarter in a row. With many ways to caffeinate, free Wi-Fi, breakfast and lunch, and locations everywhere, it’s no surprise. Jimmy John’s, however, moved up the ranks to become the top-rated restaurant for business travelers, beating out Chick-fil-A. Also of note, despite a much higher average meal cost, Panera displaced Subway in the number-three spot for restaurants. In the skies, Delta and United respectively still dominate receipts, but more travelers now say their preferred carrier is Alaska Airlines (which flies to 25 states plus DC, Mexico and Canada) instead of Southwest Airlines. However, Southwest jumped up two spots from fifth-most expensed to third-most expensed airline, indicating that its strategy of friendly service and lower costs are resonating.

The quarterly Certify SpendSmart™ Report analyzes vendors, expense amounts and satisfaction rating data on business expenses collected directly from end users. Certify SpendSmart™ reports on millions of receipts and expenses, delivering valuable insights to Certify clients and the business travel and expense industry at large. Certify has been tracking corporate travel and expense data since 2009 and uniquely offers integrated travel booking, travel and expense management and reimbursement in one system.

“Our research indicates that business travelers look for a combination of convenience, cost and preferred brands when they’re traveling,” says Robert Neveu, CEO of Certify. “In restaurants, travelers continue to use the brands they know, which also happen to be those that show up in travel centers like airports and city centers. The airline business is fairly volatile when it comes to the top five spots on our list, with Southwest, American and US Airways all jockeying for position.”

Q1 Highlights:

Most-Expensed Restaurants:
Starbucks: 5.26% of expenses, averaging $10.68 per receipt
McDonalds’s: 2.76%, averaging $7.94
Panera Bread: 1.79%, averaging $39.59
Subway: 1.72%, averaging $15.26
Dunkin’ Donuts: 1.33%, averaging $11.28


Most Expensed Restaurants by Meal
• Breakfast: Starbucks, 12.9%
• Lunch: McDonalds, 3.27%
• Dinner: McDonalds, 1.72%

Top Rated Restaurants (On a scale from 1 to 5, as indicated by travelers)
Jimmy John’s 4.5
Chick-Fil-A 4.4
Panera Bread 4.3
Jason’s Deli 4.3
Chipotle 4.2


Most-Expensed Hotels
Marriott: 9.05% of expenses, averaging $217.65
Hampton Inn: 7.42%, averaging $190.67
Courtyard by Marriott: 6.5%, averaging $156.72
Hilton: 4.87%, averaging $216.42
Holiday Inn: 4.27%, averaging $152.92

Top Rated Hotels
Residence Inn 4.2
Westin Hotel 4.1
Marriott 4.1
Courtyard By Marriott 4.0
Embassy Suites 4.0


Most Expensed Airlines
Delta: 20.69%, averaging $408.87
United: 14.08%, averaging $420.62
Southwest: 10.99%, averaging $281.59
American: 10.4%, averaging $379.33
US Airways: 9.7%, averaging $286.81

Top Rated Airlines
Alaska Airline 4.6
Southwest 4.3
Delta 4.0
American Airlines 3.6
United 3.5


Most Expensed Car-Rental Services
National: 19.64%, averaging $180.06
Avis: 15.07%, averaging $175.76
Hertz: 14.83%, averaging $232.61
Enterprise: 13.50%, averaging $170.28
Budget: 4.59%, averaging $206.33


Top Rated Car-Rental Services
National 4.1
Avis 4.0
Enterprise 4.0
Hertz 3.9
Budget Car Rental 3.8

About Certify
Certify is the leading online travel and expense management solution for companies of all sizes. Organizations worldwide book travel and complete expense reports quickly, easily, and cost-effectively using Certify cloud and mobile applications. For more information about Certify, please call 207.773.6100 or visit http://www.certify.com.