Lyft gained ground among business travelers in 2018, according to Certify’s latest Q2 2018 SpendSmart report, which tracks the most popular airlines, ground transportation services, lodging and restaurants used by business travelers in North America. According to the Q2 2018 report, for which Certify analyzed over 10 million business travel receipts and expenses, Lyft gained eight percent in market share over Q2 2017 while Uber declined three percent and taxi use dropped five percent during the same period. Uber is still dominating business travel ride-hailing according to Certify’s data, with 74 percent of the overall market compared to 19 percent for Lyft and seven percent for taxis.
Uber use by business travelers has been growing steadily since Certify began monitoring the market in 2014. In the second quarter of that year, Uber took just under 26 percent of all ground transportation transactions compared to Lyft (less than one percent) and taxis (74 percent). By Q2 2015, Uber had taken 55 percent of the market, and in Q2 2016, Uber use jumped to 73 percent. Double-digit growth for Uber stalled in Q2 2017 when it grabbed 77 percent of the market. Q2 2018 marks Uber’s first Q2 year-over-year decline. Meanwhile, Lyft use among business travelers has gone from less than one percent in Q2 2014 to a full one percent in Q2 2015, five percent in Q2 2016, 11 percent in Q2 2017, and finally up to 19 percent compared to Uber and taxis in Q2 2018.
Despite the Q2 year-over-year decline in market share as measured by Certify, business travelers are spending more money on Uber rides than with Lyft. In Q2 2018, business travelers spent $26 on average per Uber ride compared to $22.37 for Lyft.
Update: An earlier version of the Certify report included data on tipping. Certify has since decided to retract the tipping data.
"On July 26, Certify issued a press release and report including data about business travelers' use of Lyft and Uber, and the frequency with which business travelers tipped drivers when using these services. Upon further review, we have found that the tipping data shared in the release and report were inaccurate," said Certify CEO Bob Neveu in a statement provided to Travel Agent. "Certify believes that earning and keeping the trust and confidence of its customers and partners is paramount, and as such we understand the severity of this mistake. We sincerely apologize to Lyft and Uber for this error and regret the problems it caused. To be clear, Certify began a review of the situation immediately after the error was brought to our attention. We have updated and re-issued the press release and report, and are in the process of sharing these new materials with media. For the time being, Certify will not be providing tipping data in conjunction with its SpendSmart reports. We will also be conducting a thorough review of our data analysis processes with the goal of ensuring that all data used in future press releases and reports is held to a more rigorous review standard."
A spokesperson from Lyft also reached out to Travel Agent, saying, "Lyft business travelers value great rides, tipping 63 percent of the time."
Business Travelers Embrace Other Digital Services
Ride-hailing isn’t the only digital service enjoying the attention of business travelers. With time at a premium, business travelers are stepping up use of apps that help them find parking spots. SpotHero was the most popular parking app among business travelers in Q2 2018. According to Certify’s data, use of SpotHero increased 216 percent from Q2 2017 to Q2 2018. The majority of the growth was in the Chicago metro area, where SpotHero is based.
Business travelers are also embracing food delivery services. Grubhub gobbled up 35 percent of all food delivery service transactions in Q2 2018 – a 10 percent drop from Q2 2017 – compared to 25 percent for Uber Eats (up 11 percent over Q2 2017), 20 percent for DoorDash and 11 percent for Postmates. Grubhub was also the highest rated food delivery service among business travelers in Q2 2018, earning 4.74 out of a possible five stars, compared to 4.67 for DoorDash and 4.6 for Uber Eats. Meanwhile, DoorDash had the highest average transaction cost among business travelers in Q2 2018, at $75.21. Uber Eats had the lowest average transaction cost in Q2 2018, at $34.30.
Leading the Way: The Most Expensed Vendors by Category and Overall
Starbucks topped the list of the most expensed restaurants by business travelers in Q2 2018, with over five percent of all transactions and an average expense amount of $12.47. McDonald’s was second at nearly three percent of all restaurant transactions. Chick-fil-A was the top rated restaurant in the second quarter, earning 4.6 out of a possible five stars compared to 4.4 for Chipotle and 4.4 for Panera Bread.
Hampton Inn topped all lodging vendors in Q2 2018, totaling 9.32 percent of all lodging transactions and an average expense amount of $245.88 per transaction. Marriott was second with 8.4 percent of lodging transactions. Hyatt, Marriott and Westin Hotels were the top rated hotels, each earning an average rating of 4.4 out of a possible five stars.
Meanwhile, National Car Rental was the most expensed car rental company among business travelers in Q2 2018, with 26.92 percent of all category expenses, and an average expensed amount of $185.02. Enterprise Rent-A-Car came in second with 16.1 percent of car rental expenses and an average amount of $203.42 per transaction. Enterprise Rent-A-Car and National Car Rental tied with an average rating of 4.4 stars.
Delta was the most expensed airline with 20.23 percent of all category expenses and an average expense amount of $430.67. American Airlines grabbed 18.78 percent of airline transactions in Q2 2018, followed by Southwest Airlines at 15.16 percent of all transactions. JetBlue (4.6 stars) and Southwest Airlines (4.5 stars) were the top rated airlines.
And finally, Uber was the most expensed of all business travel services in Q2 2018 as measured by Certify, accounting for 11 percent of all transactions – up from seven percent in Q2 2017. Amazon, Delta and Starbucks tied for second in Q2 2018, each earning four percent of all business travel receipts and expenses in the quarter. American Airlines rounded out the top five with three percent of transactions – the same total it had in Q2 2017.
“What the data tells us is that business travelers are embracing digital services like never before because convenience on the road is foremost,” said Robert Neveu, CEO of Certify, in a written statement. “Two of the top five most expensed services by business travelers in Q2 2018 were digital – Amazon and Uber – and apps for food delivery, parking and lodging are quickly establishing themselves as worthy competitors in their markets. To wit, it’s not such a stretch to imagine services like Grubhub, DoorDash, Uber Eats and Postmates coming to dominate traditional eating options like Starbucks, McDonald’s and Panera Bread over the next five years, just as Uber and Lyft have taken down taxis.”