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The Most Used Business Expenses by Vendor! Let’s talk travel policies!

Oct 29

The pic above is a fun exercise in tracking business expenses over the years to spot trends in employee behavior! Recode started doing this in 2013 and it makes you wonder what this might look like in 2023!

What do employees expense the most? And how it’s changed in such a short time is fascinating to me!

1. Ride Share came out of nowhere in 2015! 

Uber is number one three years running, and while Lyft has risen super fast, no doubt to a lot of the #MeToo issues Uber faced in 2018, I would think we probably won’t see that change much in 2019. When the tracking first started in 2013, Taxis were in the Top 10. Taxis will never be in the Top 10 ever again!

2. Starbucks has become a business travel staple! 

I’m not a coffee drinker and I still have the Starbucks App on my phone with like $38 in credit burning a hole in my pocket! McDonald’s has been in the top 10 each of the last 6 years, and I have to assume, like Starbucks, it’s a quick, available, and easy cup of coffee or quick meal in the hurry of business travel. As airport vendors and other options become more healthy and more readily available it’s easy to see how McDonald’s will fall off the list very soon.

3. Airlines and Hotels won’t go away, but brand loyalty can change quickly!

American Airlines has the most planes, Delta has the most assets, and in business travel, Delta consistently beats out American. I can only assume that’s because Delta treats frequent business travels better. Road Warriors are super brand loyalist! It pays to be loyal when you travel all the time, and this ranking shows me Delta treats road warriors better on average. It’s crazy to me that we don’t see more hotel chains rank higher? Hampton Inn made it a couple of times. Marriott a couple of times. What does that say? Hotel chains can probably do a lot better in pampering road warriors!

4. Amazon and Walmart as business expenses! 

Where do we buy our stuff for business? Basically, two places and Amazon is trying to make it one place! Whether we are traveling or buying stuff at our desk, we basically buy from Walmart and Amazon, I’m guessing because of price and selection. This is the death of retail as we know it, where it’s basically two vendors selling us cheap crap, indistinguishable crap.

So, do these most used vendors speak to your Travel Policy? 

It seems like, over the years, Peggy in payroll has gotten a little less Nazi-like when it comes to expense reports. Are you feeling that? Maybe that’s just me, or maybe our accounting departments are eased up a bit.

Business travel is hard enough without getting yelled at by someone in the home office who never gets to travel and believes your business travel experience is like going on one non-stop vacation! I get we need rules and boundaries, but for the most part business travel sucks, and it’s taxing on your personal life. As HR leaders we should be developing travel policies that take this into account.

I find that HR leaders who have to travel a lot get this at a really high level and find great ways to develop travel policies that get what the organization needs without putting heavy burdens on those traveling. Those who don’t travel for business, develop policies that make employees hate HR and Accounting!

What is the one business expense your organization allows that we would find the most interesting or amazing?

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