Oversight continued to observe notable shifts in spend behaviors and trends in the recent months. As the vaccination rate increases, business travel begins to recover and new spend patterns and potential risk emerge. In our July Spend Insights Report, we shared findings uncovered in the second quarter of 2021.
Based on the company’s proprietary spend data, the report reveals that nearly 60% of employee spend activity in Q2 2021 was in travel categories, including hotels and motels (31%) and airlines (27%). With this uptick in travel comes new trends in employee spend behaviors as the hospitality, restaurant and transportation industries continue to re-emerge from the pandemic.
Here are the key findings from our July report:
- Transportation Spend Remains Strong: With auto rental companies re-establishing their fleets as demand normalizes, employees turn to taxis and rideshare services. They’re also opting to drive their personal cars in response to the rental shortage, leading to out-of-pocket expenses and potential spend risks.
- Out-of-Pocket Spend Ramps Up:Out-of-pocket violations were up 44% in June compared to March 2021. The majority of violations are tied to hotel and restaurant expenditures, which hints that risk will persist as expected travel activity increases in Q3.
- Excessive Daily Meals & Expense Outlier Violations Increase:Excessive daily meal violations increased more than 200%, with dinner expenses triggering most of the risky spend. Similarly, outlier expenses like unusual meal and lodging purchases climbed more than 160%, which could be due to increasing demand for lodging in certain markets.
Organizations must take the opportunity to re-evaluate their spend policies and broadly communicate them to all employees. To help, we are working with organizations on suggested changes to policy, adjustments to audit approaches, and other recommended actions to target and combat these new risk profiles more effectively.