Ridesharing in Managed Corporate Travel – Which Service is Best for Business Travelers?

September 10, 2019 Mark Dauner

Five years ago, the question on travel managers’ minds wasn’t ‘which ridesharing service is better?’ but, ‘Uber vs taxi vs car rentals — which is better?’ Then in 2015, Uber eclipsed taxis and has remained in the top five expensed brands in North America for business travelers since. 

New data from Certify shows Uber as the most expensed ride-hailing brand in 2018, making up 11 percent of all expensed brands in North America. Starbucks was the overall most expensed brand, followed by Amazon. Lyft secured a spot in the overall top six. In addition to Uber and Lyft, other ridesharing services around the world have grabbed their own portion of market share, including Gett (EMEA), MyTaxi (EMEA), Addison Lee (EMEA), Juno (North America), Easy Taxi (South America), and Grab (APAC).

While it is clear that ridesharing is here to stay, at least for the immediate future, what it will become and how to factor it into one’s travel policy is another matter. Understandably, travel buyers and meetings and events managers are concerned with providing convenience for road warriors while controlling expenses and leveraging buying power wherever possible.

With many solid options around the world in the ridesharing space, one question on travel managers’ minds should be which is best for business travelers and which one should be prioritized in your global business travel policy?

Which Ridesharing service is Best for Business Travelers?

In writing on the topic of ridesharing for business travel before, we’ve discussed where you can and can’t catch an Uber, car sharing and other ways the sharing economy is impacting business travel. One thing that has become clear, even as we’ve surveyed our own corporate travel clients, is that while ridesharing began as a disruptor, it is solidifying into a permanent fixture within the travel industry. 

GBTA research found travel policies overwhelmingly allow ridesharing. Their research revealed stats that show business travelers prefer ridesharing: 

  • 89 percent of travel programs now allow ridesharing 
  • Only 10 percent of companies do not have a policy addressing ridesharing
  • Only 1 percent of companies prohibit ridesharing

While ridesharing is widespread, it has not yet fully moved to a managed environment. 

Only 18 percent of travel programs that allow ridesharing have a formal relationship with a vendor such as Uber for Business or Lyft for Business. This is likely to change however, as Uber and Lyft are aggressively pursuing formal relationships with businesses, organizations, and venues. 

Again, GBTA found that of businesses without formal relationships with Uber or Lyft, 42 percent say they are likely to initiate formal relationships in the future. The key to managing ridesharing expenses effectively will be in tracking those expenses and looking for opportunities to minimize costs.

How to Manage Ridesharing Costs More Effectively

An ongoing challenge for travel managers is managing leakage, which is compounded by a lack of visibility into a company’s true and total expenses. Today, the same technology advancements revolutionizing the transportation industry are giving travel buyers a level of visibility into their travel spend that they haven’t enjoyed before. 

Machine-learning powered data engines and visualizations make it possible to see expenses from sources including:

  • Credit card feeds (including ghost and virtual cards)
  • Agency data
  • HR data
  • Budget data
  • Back office, financial data
  • What’s this have to do with determining which one is best for business travelers? 

That same GBTA survey found that while most business travelers (88 percent) use corporate credit cards to pay for rideshares, a sizeable number (41 percent) said they use personal credit cards, debit cards or cash to pay for ride shares when traveling for business. 

Without visibility into all payment methods, travel managers will continue to struggle to properly evaluate what ground transportation methods offer the most convenience at the best cost in the various cities their employees visit for business. However, as ridesharing continues to move into a managed expense for businesses, giving employees the value they desire at the best price point possible will become more achievable.

Bottom Line - Uber vs Lyft vs Other Ridesharing Services: What Makes the Most Sense for You?

As has been shown thus far, ridesharing services are a part of business travel that isn’t going away any time soon. Figuring out which service makes the most sense for your organization depends on three factors: travel policy, partnership programs, and data visibility. Maximize the value of ridesharing at your organization by:

  • Making specific ridesharing services part of your business travel policy – one choice may not be enough if your company has a global travel program as not all ride-sharing services operate in every market
  • Negotiating a business relationship with Uber for Business, Lyft Business, or other similar programs in cities around the world where ridesharing is more cost-effective than taxis and other forms of ground transportation
  • Gaining better visibility into all of your travel expenses by bringing ridesharing payments into your managed program so you can track, analyze and make better decisions based on more accurate data
  • Making ridesharing easy and convenient for travelers - mobile apps like Travel and Transport’s Dash Mobile provide direct access to ground transportation options like Uber and Lyft 

If you don’t already have a relationship with a competent travel management company, Travel and Transport has the experience, resources and supplier partnerships to help you maximize not just the cost and value of your global ridesharing options, but your entire travel program. 

Contact us today to start a discussion about managing your business travel needs.

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