The National Business Travel Association (NBTA) has issued the 2010 U.S. Business Travel Buyers’ Cost Forecast report to its members. The report says businesses are expected to travel a lot more, with air travel and car rental costs expected to remain nearly flat and hotel rates expected to decline by upto 8%.
A whopping 69% of travel managers responding to the NBTA survey said that they expect business travel volume to grow in 2010. 56% said their projected travel spending has increased for 2010, while 31% said it remains flat.
On an equally optimistic note, the number of travel managers expecting spending cuts in 2010 has gone down:- Meetings (-27%); non-essential travel and conference (-20%); and event attendance (-15%).
NBTA President and CEO Craig Banikowski warned however that “The uptick in business travel in 2010 will take place within the framework of a new corporate culture in terms of travel. In the ‘new normal,’ we see stronger travel mandates, greater use of pre-trip approval and audits, tighter restrictions on premium class travel, more focus on travel ROI, and enterprise-wide strategic meetings management.”
As a result, the NBTA survey also indicates that 70% of buyers expect to negotiate better hotel discounts for 2010. More than 30% forecast better discounts with airlines and car rental companies.
One area of concern is the growing list of ancillary fees charged by airlines - which the report says may push the cost of an airline ticket by 30% or more.
From what the report says, it seems like 2010 is headed for a year of increased volumes and more travel spending, but at lower prices than what we have on offer today. It’s harder than expected for the travel industry in the short term – although much, much better than 2008 and 2009, and the business travel growth also bodes well for 2011 and beyond.
You can download the full report on the NBTA website – www.nbta.org/2010forecast