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May 1, 2018

Research: Lyft Use Doubles Among Business Travelers

The use of Lyft by business travelers nearly doubled in the first quarter of 2018, according to a new report by automated travel and entertainment expense management software provider Certify. The new Q1 2018 SpendSmart report breaks down the most popular airlines, hotels, restaurants and ground transportation services among business travelers in the U.S. The report, which Certify has published for the past four and a half years, analyzed over 10 million receipts and expenses in Q1.

The new Certify report is highlighted by the rise of Lyft, which continues to gain ground on Uber within the business traveler community. According to the report, Lyft took 19 percent of all ride-hailing receipts and expenses in Q1 compared to 10 percent in the first quarter of 2017. Lyft use has been growing steadily since 2014, when the service accounted for just 1 percent of the business traveler ride-hailing market. Lyft’s growth has come at the expense of Uber – though Uber still owns a commanding share of the market nationally. Uber’s 81 percent market share in Q1 2018 is down from 90 percent in Q1 2017 and 95 percent in Q1 2016.

Combined, Uber and Lyft are dominating traditional business traveler ground transportation services. In Q1 2018, ride-hailing companies took 70.5 percent of all ground transportation receipts and expenses, while rental cars took 23.5 percent and taxis took 6 percent. That’s a big jump from one year ago, when ride-hailing accounted for 59 percent of the market, rental cars had 31 percent and taxis had 10 percent. The change is more staggering compared to data from the middle of the decade: In Q1’14, ride-hailing was a mere 8 percent of the business traveler ground transportation market, while rental cars were 55 percent and taxis were 37 percent.

Major metro areas continued to dominate the U.S. ride-hailing market. Not surprisingly, San Francisco was the most popular U.S. ride-hailing city for business travelers, taking 99 percent of the market compared to 1 percent for taxis (rental cars were not included in this part of the analysis) in Q1 2018. That’s a slight improvement from Q1 2017 when ride-hailing took 96 percent of the San Francisco market. Dallas was the second most popular market nationally, with 91 percent of business traveler ground transportation receipts and expenses going to ride-hailing services. Los Angeles and Boston tied for third, with 89 percent of transactions. Chicago and New York continue to have the highest rate of taxi use compared to ride-hailing, but even in those markets, ride-hailing accounted for nearly 75 percent of all business traveler ground transportation receipts and expenses in Q1 2018.

Despite recent reports from Lyft and Uber showing that tipping on these services is growing, Certify’s report indicates that a relatively small percentage of business travelers who use ride-hailing services are participating. In Q1 2018, only 6 percent of business travelers using Uber tipped their drivers, while 2 percent of Lyft users tipped. On average, business travelers are tipping about $.15 less per ride with Lyft than Uber, according to Certify’s data, and spending nearly $5 less on Lyft trips versus Uber trips.

“Lyft’s jump is the biggest surprise of Q1,” said Robert Neveu, president and CEO of Certify, in a written statement. “As Uber experienced change in its senior leadership team and challenges in various markets, Lyft stayed the course and gained market. It will be very interesting to see if Lyft is able to maintain this level of usage in the business travel space.”

Certify’s report also covered the most popular airlines, hotels and restaurants among business travelers in Q1. Here are the top three in each category:

The most popular airlines:

  1. Delta
  2. American Airlines
  3. Southwest Airlines

The most popular hotels:

  1. Hampton Inn
  2. Marriott
  3. Courtyard By Marriott

The most popular restaurants:

  1. Starbucks
  2. McDonald’s
  3. Panera Bread

The Certify SpendSmart Report provides detailed analysis of vendors, expense amounts and satisfaction rating data from corporate expense reports collected directly from its customer base. Certify SpendSmart reports on millions of receipts and expense transactions every quarter, delivering valuable insights to Certify clients and the business travel and expense industry at large. 

Source: Certify

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