Certify Releases Q4 2014 Report on Business Expense Trends

Certify Releases Q4 2014 Report on Business Expense Trends
The travel and expense management leader’s quarterly SpendSmart report shows that travelers love Uber, Chipotle, Embassy Suites, Alaska Air and National.
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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 fourth quarter of 2014. The report, now in its eighth consecutive quarter, tracks spending across major categories such as food, airlines, lodging and car rentals and highlights top vendors for business travelers.

Some highlights from last quarter and 2014 include:

Just say no to Yellow Cab and Budget? In a surprising shift, the latest report uncovers the rapid growth of Uber, which grew from 3% of general expenses in Q3 of 2014 to 5% in Q4 of 2014. Uber’s taxi and ridesharing services are priced on par with traditional taxicabs, averaging $32.48 per trip versus $30.58 for taxis. Uber may also be posing a threat to car rental companies; the service was expensed 127% more often than the most-frequently-expensed car rental company, National.

Price spikes across the board: From meals to hotels, companies are paying more to send employees on the road. Marriott was the most-expensed hotel in the last two years, but the average cost of a stay at one of its properties rose from $225.43 in 2013 to $240.47 in 2014. The average visit to Starbucks for business travelers rose by nearly a dollar, from $9.58 in 2013 to $10.45 in 2014. The average cost of booking a trip on Delta, consistently one of the top airline vendors in the past eight quarters, rose from $390.72 to $413.53 in 2014.

Name brands pursue their dominance: Despite lower than expected results in fall 2014 earnings reports, top restaurant vendors in terms of receipts for Q4 include Starbucks, McDonalds and Panera Bread. Other top-expensed business travel vendors include Marriott, National and Delta.

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. Previous reports are available here.

“A stronger economy is positive for companies, yet for a variety of reasons, food, hospitality and transportation prices are on the rise. That’s squeezing corporate budgets, which might result in more discretion with travel this year,” says Robert Neveu, CEO of Certify. “Still, upstarts like Uber show that there is potential for new travel-related services to challenge long-standing vendors by bringing convenience and great pricing to business travelers.”


Q4 Highlights:

Most-Expensed Restaurants: (Meals comprised 21% of overall receipts)
Starbucks: 4.63% of expenses, averaging $10.44 per receipt
McDonald’s: 2.86%, averaging $8.00
Panera Bread: 1.53%, averaging $39.65
Subway: 1.59%, averaging $15.70
Dunkin’ Donuts: 1.28%, averaging $12.16


Most Expensed Restaurants by Meal
Breakfast: Starbucks 12.98%
Lunch: Subway 3.18%
Dinner: McDonald’s 1.69%


Top Rated Restaurants (On a scale from 1 to 5, as indicated by travelers)
Chipotle 4.3
Chick-Fil-A 4.2
Jimmy John’s 4.1
Panera Bread 4.1
Starbucks 4.1


Most Expensed Airlines (Airfare comprised 15% of receipts)
Delta: 20.05%, averaging $403.46
United: 14.19%, averaging $411.11
American: 10.95%, averaging $363.63
Southwest: 09.29%, averaging $297.04
US Airways: 08.79%, averaging $302.46


Top Rated Airlines
Alaska 4.4
Southwest 4.4
Delta 4.2
American 3.7
U.S. Airways 3.7


Most-Expensed Hotels (Lodging comprised 14% of receipts)
Marriott: 8.72%, of expenses, averaging $242.69
Hampton Inn: 8.13% averaging $212.74
Courtyard by Marriott: 6.33%, averaging $168.24
Holiday Inn: 4.11%, averaging $170.38
Holiday Inn Express: 3.88%, averaging $211.35



Top Rated Hotels
Embassy Suites 4.4
Marriott 4.3
Residence Inn 4.3
Courtyard by Marriott 4.1
Hilton Garden Inn 4.1


Most Expensed Car-Rental Services (Car rentals comprised 5% of receipts)
National: 23.21%, averaging $176.50
Avis: 15.40%, averaging $180.81
Enterprise: 14.43%, averaging $185.42
Hertz: 13.81%, averaging $218.79
Budget: 03.64%, averaging $180.59


Top Rated Car-Rental Services
National: 4.3
Enterprise: 4.2
Avis: 4.0
Budget: 3.9
Hertz: 3.9

To see the data live online go here: http://www.certify.com/CertifySpendSmartReport.aspx.

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.