Certify Releases Q2 Report on Business Expense Trends

Certify Releases Q2 Report on Business Expense Trends
The travel and expense management leader’s quarterly SpendSmart report finds that gourmet coffee and fast food still rule, travelers love Costco and Chicago is the city gaining the most receipts.
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Leading cloud-based travel and expense management software provider Certify announced the results of its latest business spending report, covering the second quarter of 2014. The report, now in its sixth quarter, tracks spending across major categories such as food, airlines, lodging and car rentals. The most-expensed vendors from last quarter include Starbucks, Delta, Marriott, National Car Rental, as well as Costco, Shell and Amazon. Meals constituted 21% of all travel and entertainment (T&E) receipts, followed by airlines (16%), hotels (13%) and car rentals (5%).

Top movers from last quarter include Subway, which gained the third most-expensed meal vendor spot, beating out Panera; Chick-fil-A, upending Jimmy Jones for the top-rated restaurant; and Seamless, which replaced Starbucks as the most-expensed restaurant vendor in New York City. Fast food continues to rule with business travelers, who submitted most of their receipts from Starbucks and McDonalds. Hyatt earned the top-rated hotel spot, while Hilton was rated as the third most-preferred hotel: neither chain made the list in Q1. Finally, Southwest regained its heady stature as the people’s favorite (though not most-expensed) airline.

This quarter’s analysis for the first time reveals top vendors in the General Expense category, defined as products and services such as cell phone, gas, groceries, office supplies and taxis. Costco topped the General Expense category, winning 7% of those expenses but followed closely by AT&T and Shell, both at 5%.

Some interesting regional data also surfaced this quarter. The top cities for business travelers as represented by percentage of total receipts were Chicago (4%) followed by Houston (3%), New York and Dallas (tied for 2%) and Los Angeles and Philadelphia (both at 1%). The cheapest place for dinner on the road is Philly, averaging $37, while the cheapest lodging is in Dallas at an average $205 per night. The priciest town for dinner and hotel is, as always, New York at an average $71 for dinner and $422 per night for hotel, while Houston came in as the next highest city at $315 per night. The best deal for dinner and lodging over a 24-hour period was Dallas, at $245.

The quarterly Certify SpendSmartTM 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.

“Results from our Q2 analysis show that even as the economy improves, value remains important to companies and employees, given the high percentage of receipts coming from low-cost convenience restaurants and discount retailers such as Costco,” says Robert Neveu, CEO of Certify. “Stark differences in food and lodging costs across major US cities should also help companies prioritize travel by location, when they can.”

Q2 Highlights:

Most-Expensed Restaurants:
Starbucks: 4.76% of expenses, averaging $9.99 per receipt
McDonalds’s: 2.68%, averaging $8.17
Subway: 1.67%, averaging $16.99
Panera Bread: 1.61%, averaging $39.83
HMS Host: 1.16%, averaging $16.18


Most Expensed Restaurants by Meal
Breakfast: Starbucks, 13.09%
Lunch: McDonalds, 3.13%
Dinner: McDonalds, 1.68%


Top Rated Restaurants (On a scale from 1 to 5, as indicated by travelers)
Chick-Fil-A 4.3
Chipotle 4.2
Dunkin’ Donuts 4.1
Olive Garden 4.1
Starbucks 4.0


Most-Expensed Hotels
Marriott: 8.66% of expenses, averaging $240.74
Hampton Inn: 7.94%, averaging $205.44
Courtyard by Marriott: 5.63%, averaging $171.08
Hilton: 4.37%, averaging $211.94
Holiday Inn: 4.27%, averaging $163.04


Top Rated Hotels
Hyatt 4.3
Marriott 4.2
Hilton 4.1
Westin 4.1
Hilton Garden Inns 4.0


Most Expensed Airlines
Delta: 20.51%, averaging $419.56
United: 14.36% averaging $432.01
American: 10.67% averaging $376.60
Southwest 10.4% averaging $314.78
US Airways: 9.56% averaging $300.80


Top Rated Airlines
Southwest 4.4
Alaska 4.1
Delta 4.0
American Airlines 3.6
United 3.5


Most Expensed Car-Rental Services
National: 20.45%, averaging $180.51
Avis: 15.48%, averaging $177.64
Hertz: 15.4%, averaging $215.24
Enterprise: 12.49%, averaging $186.18
Budget: 4.45%, averaging $196.34


Top Rated Car-Rental Services
National: 4.2
Enterprise: 4.0
Avis: 3.9
Hertz: 3.6

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.