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Business Travel Market – Uber And Lyft Pound Taxis, Rental Cars

Business Travel Market Car-sharing companies Uber and Lyft are rapidly becoming the 800-pound gorillas of U.S. ground transportation for business travellers.  And like any good pair of 800-pound gorillas, they continue to pound the opposition. In this case, its rental car providers and taxis taking the beating, according to a new report by travel and entertainment expense management software company Certify.

The study, based on analysis of some 50 million receipts showed that for 2017, the ride-hailing pair accounted for 68% of overall ground transportation expenses.  Uber had 56% of all ground transportation receipts/expenses, a category that also included taxis and car rental services.  Uber’s share grew slightly over 2016 when it had 52% of the market. However, the real market tiger in terms of growth was Lyft, which grew from 4% in 2016 to 12% in 2017.

Uber was the most expensed brand of all in the survey, with 9% of all receipts/expenses, followed by Starbucks (the most-expensed restaurant) at 4%.

Looking at an ever-shrinking share of the ground transportation pie were the long-suffering car rental and taxi companies.  In 2016, car rentals were 33% of all ground transportation receipts/expenses. In 2017, car rentals comprised only 25%.

The picture was equally dismal for the once-ubiquitous taxicab. While taxis accounted for 11% of ground transportation expenses in 2016, they had slipped to just 7% by 2017. In fact, the only area where taxis led in the survey was in having the most costly average fare: the average cost of a taxi ride was $31.64, while the average Uber ride was $25.10 and the average Lyft fare was $20.63.

Business Travel Market Fare Comparison

Interesting, while ride-sharing has clearly been embraced by the business traveller, other aspects of the so-called ‘sharing economy’ have not been. According to Certify, while expensing Airbnb stays have nearly doubled each year since 2014, Airbnb receipts represented just .5% of the lodging category overall in 2017.  By contrast, Hampton Inn had 8.95% of lodging receipts, Marriott 8.48%, Courtyard by Marriott: 7.4%, Holiday Inn Express: 4.63% and Hilton Garden Inn, 4.47%.

Still, a home sharer like Airbnb may well eventually become a significant player in the business lodging market. As Robert Neveu, CEO of Certify, noted, “Today, relatively new industries like ride-hailing, room sharing, and meals management are maturing quickly as approved corporate suppliers at all levels of business.”

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(Source: Michael Goldstein, Forbes)