What do you think is the most common expense from business travelers? They need to get to their destination, so you might think it’s airfare or maybe a car service. They also need to sleep, so hotels would be another good guess. Would you be surprised to find that it’s actually dining expenses?

That’s right, Certify recently released a study examining more than 50 million expenses on their platform. Trying to understand how business travelers spend their money, they discovered a few insights along the way. 

Common expenses for business travelers

  • Dining is not only the most common expense, but also the expense that has increased the highest in the last three years. The average meal is now $5 more than it was in 2016.
  • Within those dining expenses, Starbucks remained the most popular vendor in 2018. Not really a surprise to fellow business travelers, right? It represented 23.4% of all dining expenses.
  • Hotels and fuel have also increased in the last few years. Hotels are on average $50 more expensive.
  • Airfares and ride hailing services have declined in price. (Thanks Uber and Lyft!) Airfares are about $40 less on average.

What does this mean for your business travelers:

  • Travelers are now accustomed to convenience and getting exactly what they want, when they want it. Having a travel program with this flexibility will keep your travelers more comfortable in the long run. If you don’t it’s time to start thinking of ways to include this in your travel policy and program.
  • Understand that costs overall have increased for the travel industry. Yes, flights have decreased and the sharing economy has also helped changed the game. But overall, travel is increasing and is expected to continue that way. Though obviously one of your main objectives is to keep costs low, try to be fair to your business travelers and their needs. They shouldn’t get the short end of the stick because fuel is more expensive.
  • Understand which expenses are most important to your travelers.  See if there is a way to provide that service within the travel policy at a better price point. Negotiate with vendors if possible and don’t be afraid to get creative.
Allyson Cross

Allyson Cross

Allyson is a Business Development Executive for Christopherson Business Travel and has been in the travel industry for over 15 years. In her free time, she enjoys running and traveling- sometimes both at the same time. Allyson can be found on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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