Business trip costs decrease: study

Travel Leaders Corporate revealed Q4 business travel data related to hotel rates, airline advanced purchase and rental car rates, in addition to trip costs

February 15, 2017
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Plymouth, MN—Travel Leaders Corporate has released an analysis of its clients’ aggregate business travel bookings from the fourth quarter of 2016, the company said. The data indicate that the overall cost for domestic and international business trips (air, hotel and car rental) continued to decline.

It was the least expensive quarter for U.S. business travel since the 4th quarter of 2013 and the overall international trip cost of $2,167 is nearly 17 percent lower than Q4 of 2014. The average nightly rate for U.S. hotels was $151, down from Q3; there was a slight decline in the average rates for international hotel rates to $179, as well. City by city, the top 25 markets in the US showed increases in average nightly hotel rates since 2013. Quarter over quarter, the report said, many showed small declines.

The average cost of a U.S. business trip—including air, car and hotel averaged together—in Q4 2016 fell 4 percent to $945 (from $980). This was the second consecutive quarter that the average domestic trip price has fallen and is the lowest it’s been since Q4 2013.

Also, Q4 is usually slower for business travel and pricing falls in line with decreased demand. The average cost of an international business trip was $2,167—a 5-percent decline from Q3 2016 and nearly 4 percent lower than Q4 2015.

“There is a natural cycle in business travel, whereby the fourth quarter is typically slower than the rest of the year. However, for those companies who continued to invest in travel, they experienced far greater returns based on the overall costs,” said Gabe Rizzi, president of Travel Leaders Corporate.

Travel Leaders Corporate also released information on comparable hotel rates. The average total trip cost for domestic hotels fell sharply in the last quarter of 2016. However, the average nightly cost of a hotel remained on the upward trend of the last several quarters. Those competing trends indicate that business travelers spent more per night on hotel rooms and offset that by shortening the length of their stay.

Also, according to Travel Leaders Corporate’s business travel data, 22 of the top 25 US cities showed increases over the last three years in average nightly hotel rates.