Forecast shows U.S. business travel spending up 7.1 percent in Q2 2014

A new travel industry forecast from the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) reported that business travelers spent an estimated $72.8 billion on U.S.-based business travel during Q2 2014. This is 7.1 percent more than last year, and though the total number of trips taken year-over-year has reduced 0.1 percent, spending continues to rise.

Group business trips are further expected to drop 3.3 percent, though spending on group business travel is forecasted to rise 5.9 percent. The takeaway is that businesses are spending more per trip despite traveling as much or slightly less, indicating a stronger economy overall.

U.S.-generated business travel spending is expected to rise 6.8 percent to $292.3 billion in 2014, according to the GBTA BTI Outlook – United States 2014 Q3. The report was released by the GBTA Foundation, the education and research arm of the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA), and sponsored by Visa.

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The report's key findings show that individual business travel volume is only expected to grow 2.3 percent in 2014, but spending is expected to increase 7 percent due to higher travel prices and more spend per trip. Group travel is also expected to increase disproportionately over volume, rising 5.9 percent year-over-year in spend while lowering 3.3 percent in volume. 

Travel costs are also expected to increase 2.9 percent in 2014, and an additional 3.5 percent in 2015 as a result of rising F&B costs, hotel prices and airfare.

"We generally see that about 60 percent of the increase in travel spending over the last 14 or 15 years has been due to inflation," Joe Bates, GBTA's VP of research, told USA Today. "But the other 40 percent has been due to real increases in spending and that trend has been holding pretty steady."

Hotels have already taken note of this increased spend. In September, Marriott International announced plans to open as many as 1,300 new hotel properties and 200,000 new rooms by 2017, expecting a rejuvenated middle class and healing economy to increase demand.

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