Skift Take

Beyond the Uber and Lyft drama here, the deeper trend seems to be companies and travel managers allowing business travelers to make their own choices about which ground transportation option they prefer. This represents a major change from how things used to be, and it is good news for the industry.

The battle for ridesharing dominance in the U.S. has heated up over the last year, with Uber’s troubles gaining most of the spotlight. Lyft’s steady rise, along with its quiet expansion into Canada, has garnered fewer headlines but has perhaps had the most impact on wooing business travelers.

New data from expense software provider Certify shows that Lyft’s popularity among business travelers has skyrocketed in recent years, although Uber retains a dominant lead in market share.

Lyft now accounts for just under a fifth of ridesharing expenses, with Uber’s share of business falling fast year-over-year. Uber accounted for 99 percent of business travel ridesharing expenses on Certify’s platform in the first quarter of 2014, and it now accounts for 81 percent.

“Lyft’s jump is the biggest surprise of Q1,” said Robert Neveu, president and CEO of Certify. “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 data does not include car service expenses, due to the complexity of tracking them.

The data overall reflects the trouble that both car rentals and taxis have had in continuing to offer a strong value proposition to business travelers.

Q1 2014 Q1 2016 Q1 2018
Ridehailing 8% 46% 71%
Rental Cars 55% 40% 23%
Taxi 37% 14% 6%

Lyft has spent the last year making inroads among the major global travel management companies and announced a strategic partnership with American Express Global Business Travel last week. Lyft rides will be featured on the travel management company’s new ground transportation platform.

Uber led the way on integration with the global travel management companies, but it seems like the company’s public woes may be leading business travelers to look elsewhere. Uber does have a lead on Lyft in its capabilities in the business travel space, however, so it will be interesting to see if and when Lyft’s growth begins to slow.

“Uber is one of the few things people use frequently for personal and business travel; there’s a huge need for separating business from personal,” Greg Greiner, head of product for Uber for Business, told Skift in a December 2017 interview. “The other piece is that as a business traveler, there are different needs and expectations around the core rider experience. The business traveler is much more of a power user, and has a more planned travel experience. We are continuing to make our scheduled rides experience better, continuing to work on our consistency when traveling between cities, and making that airport experience more seamless.”


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Tags: business travel, lyft, uber

Photo credit: A promotional image from Lyft. Lyft is slowing gaining traction among business travelers. Lyft

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