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Train ticket, hand holding Pleo card, steering wheel

It seems like most aspects of work are back to business as usual, but how are companies approaching travelling for work post-lockdowns? 

We’ve been exploring the state of play when it comes to business travel and identified some standout trends after looking closely at the spending of our 20,000+ customers, small to medium enterprises (1-500 employees) across six European markets (UK, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Ireland and Spain) from the start of 2022.

A quick look back

Over a year ago, the travel spend category, unsurprisingly, dropped throughout our markets.

And while travel started to pick up towards the end of 2021, the emergence of the Omicron variant forced countries around the world to return back to caution by implementing temporary travel restrictions.

But travel picked up pretty quickly after that. Since the start of the year, the travel spend category reclaimed the top spot with the highest spend. And this shift isn’t just being observed in our customer base – worldwide business travel spend is expected to surge this year with the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) expecting spending to hit $1.4 trillion by the end of 2024.

But how and what are Pleo users spending on when it comes to getting from A to B?

Trains are the transport of choice across (almost) all markets 

For the UK and IE, Germany, Spain and Sweden, trains reign supreme for both the number of transactions and the amount spent with Pleo cards (we love to see sustainable travel). 

In the UK, our customers spend the most on the travel booking platform, Trainline. But TfL claims the top spot when it comes to the number of transactions (with Uber following close behind). Tough to compete with that daily commute, especially when Pleo auto-generates a ticket for you on your Tfl journey as soon as you tap in. 

Deutsche Bahn (DB), the national railway company, is number one for both spending and transactions in Germany.

And high-speed trains, like Renfee in Spain and SJ in Sweden are top picks when it comes to travelling for work.

Of course, our customers are using other modes of transportation, especially when leaving the country. We can see that the UK’s go-to airline is British Airways, while Spanish customers prefer to fly with Vueling Airlines. 

Our Danish customers tend to hop in a taxi most often, with the taxi service TAXA getting the most amount of transactions. But the merchant with the most transactional spend is Disko Line, Greenland’s largest passenger shipping company connecting cities, settlements and providing sailing trips for a chance to view icebergs, glaciers and even whales. Company offsite? Sign us up for the next trip! 

There’s a clear winner for accommodation

Across our markets, Booking.com is the top choice for finding hotel rooms when business trips require people to stay overnight. 

In the UK and IE, Spain and Sweden, it’s the third merchant with the most overall spend in the travel category. In Germany, it’s the second and in Denmark, it’s the sixth.

There are some local favourites too. Our German customers also use B&B Hotels while Swedes choose Scandic Hotels.  

Pleo is a road trip companion 

While our spending solution can’t help with directions or change the tunes, it does come in handy for managing fuel costs and keeping track of mileage.

Toll roads consistently appear in the top ten merchants in number of transactions. In the UK, it’s the M6 toll and in Spain it’s the AP-15. The Storebæltsforbindelsen, or The Great Belt Bridge (for us non-Danish speakers), takes the third spot in number of transactions and is fifth in overall spend for Denmark. 

But what about when it’s time to fuel up and grab some crisps? Well, our customers also tend to have their favourite petrol stations. 

In Germany, Agip has the sixth highest amount of transactions in the travel spend category. And OKQ8 claims the second spot for overall spend, with Preem following at the fourth spot in Sweden. 

The majority of our customers also use Pleo quite a bit to pay for parking via apps – RingGo in the UK, EasyPark in Denmark and MobilPark in Sweden. 

And MILES mobility, the car-van sharing app, has the fifth largest amount of transactions in Germany. 

Help your team travel smarter while you save big with Pleo 

Pleo gets rid of the huge headache that is old-school expense management. From buying things for work to subscription management to reimbursements and, of course, business travel. 

Our company cards make it easy for your people on the road to buy what they need, while your finance team back at homebase receives real-time notifications for every purchase. 

But wait there’s more – being a Pleo customer also unlocks some pretty sweet deals on other travel tools. 

Like Hotels.com, Hertz, GoMore and Goodwings.

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