Last updated: 01:00 PM ET, Thu October 15 2015

How Ride-Hailing is Winning Over Business Travelers

Business Travel | Patrick Clarke | October 15, 2015

How Ride-Hailing is Winning Over Business Travelers

Photo courtesy of Thinkstock

Ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft have officially surpassed taxis and rental cars as the preferred means of ground transportation for business travelers in two major U.S. cities.

Travel and expense management software provider Certify unveiled the results of its SpendSmart business report for the third quarter of 2015 Thursday, revealing that ride-hailing services have now overtaken traditional taxis by a significant margin when it comes to the leading form of ground transporation among U.S. business travelers.

What's more, the results show that ride-hailing services are quickly catching up to rental cars, having already surpassed them in Boston and San Francisco.

Currently, car rentals remain the most expensed form of ground transportation through Certify at 44 percent. However Uber is gaining ground at 31 percent, distancing itself from taxis (22 percent).

Meanwhile, Certify said Lyft accounts for three percent of rides among U.S. business travelers. 

"It's been incredible to watch the transformation of the ground transportation category unfolding quarter by quarter," Certify CEO Robert Neveu said in a statement. "In our SpendSmart data, Uber had just eight percent of the business traveler market in the first quarter of 2014. Now, it accounts for more than thirty percent nationally, and it’s starting to take share from car rental in key U.S. cities."

Neveu said the data shows that "business travelers are willing to explore new avenues for traditional services, and that their travel decisions are driven by convenience and quality."

In Boston, business travelers called on ride-hailing services nearly twice as often as car rentals, with the former outpacing the latter 45 percent to 23 percent. 

Interestingly, accommodation sharing services have also made a stronger effort to appeal to road warriors. According to Certify's report, corporate travelers stay an average of four nights at an Airbnb accommodation compared to two nights on average at a hotel.

The average expense amounts for Airbnb ($745) also trump those of hotels ($294).

Perhaps most importantly, on average, users rate their satisfaction with Airbnb properties higher than hotels, awarding the former 4.3 stars compared to 3.79 stars.

While Airbnb still has significant ground to cover in order to reach Uber's level of popularity in the world of business travel, it's clear that sharing services are trending up at the expense of traditional travel services. 

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