Corporate Travel Trends: How Work Travelers Spent Their Money in 2017

We take a close look at last year’s corporate travel trends, as reported by the 2017 Certify SpendSmart™ summary.

Travel and expense management company Certify recently shared its 2017 SpendSmart™ Report, summarizing the year’s corporate travel trends. This is the company’s 5th annual report, offering data on which restaurants, hotels, car rental services, and airlines eat up company travel budgets. Certify also notes the ongoing impact of the sharing economy on the changing landscape of business travel, with Uber, Lyft, and Airbnb on the rise in business travel receipts. Below are some other corporate travel trends revealed by the SpendSmart™ figures on how work travelers use popular brands across the hospitality industry.


Carrying over from Certify’s Third Quarter report, Starbucks and McDonald’s have maintained their number one and two spots, respectively, for the most expensed restaurants. Making up 5.22% of restaurant receipts in 2017, Starbucks is well ahead of McDonald’s 2.91% and Panera Bread‘s 1.71%. And despite Chick-Fil-A’s top traveler rating of 4.4 out of 5 stars, Starbucks remains the most popular breakfast eatery, with McDonald’s running away with lunch and dinner. In all, meals dominated 2017 business travel expenses, making up 19% of total spending.


Certify reports that while Airbnb is rapidly gaining momentum in the business travel industry, hotels remain the preferred form of accommodation in 2017 corporate travel trends. Hampton Inn was the most expensed hotel in 2017, though it doesn’t appear in the top 5 for best rated hotels. Following Hampton Inn’s 8.95% slice of the business travel pie, Marriott and Courtyard by Marriott come in second and third place. Hyatt, Marriott, and Westin all tied for the top rated hotel spot, with 4.4 stars each.

Car Rental Companies

Of the car rental companies that were used by business travelers last year, National, Enterprise, and Hertz were the top 3 for both most expensed and top rated services. National made up 27.1% of spending on car rentals and had a 4.4 rating, giving it the number one spot on both lists. However, the Certify report also notes that Uber and Lyft made up a combined 68% of spending on ground transport in 2017, further demonstrating the rise of the sharing economy in corporate travel trends.


Last year, airfare made up 15% of overall travel spending, coming in behind meals. In Certify’s third quarter analysis, Southwest Airlines was the third most expensed airline. But by the end of 2017, United Airlines made up 14.44% of airfare spending, knocking Southwest down to fourth place. Delta and American stayed in the top two spots, and JetBlue was the best rated airline.

The infograph below demonstrates further corporate travel trends that Certify reported on in their 2017 SpendSmart™ summary.

Corporate Travel Trends, Certify SpendSmart Report Q4 2017, Business Travel Life


Business Travel Life

Business Travel Life is an online resource supporting the road warrior lifestyle. We give business travelers the tools they need to maintain their wellness and productivity when traveling. The topics we cover include business travel tips, travel workouts, healthy travel hacks, travel products, general travel tips, and industry trends. Our goal is to make business travel a healthier experience – and to make healthy travel practices more accessible to all road warriors.

corporate travel trends, Business Travel Life

Mellisa Pascale
Mellisa Pascale

Mellisa is a writer and traveler. She’s studied in London, backpacked in Europe, and road-tripped around Iceland. Most recently, her travels took her to New Zealand, where she worked and volunteered while participating in the Working Holiday Visa program.


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