Earlier this week the GBTA Foundation released its latest quarterly forecast for business travel in the United States.
Here are the key stats you need to know:
- U.S. business travel spending will increase by 4.9 percent in 2015 to $302.7 billion and the 2016 outlook anticipates a surge in economic activity and confidence leading to a projection for 5.4 percent growth to $318.9 billion.
- Total trip volume follows a similar trend for 2015 and 2016. In 2015, U.S. travel volume is expected to increase by 1 percent to 488.1 million person-trips – an average of 1.3 million trips for every day of the year. Growth will substantially increase in 2016 with business travel volume accelerating by 3 percent to 502.8 million person-trips. That amounts to an average of more than 40,000 additional business trips every day.
- Group meeting volume finished 2014 down by -2.0 percent. Much of this decline is the fallout from an extremely strong 2013 – a period when group volume surged 8.6 percent. Growth in 2013 was driven by the corporate meeting sector, which finally rebounded after a few down years. Despite the growth in volume, spend–per-trip declined in 2013, after growing every year since 2008. Spend per group business trip bounced back in 2014, however, eclipsing $700 per trip. The forecast projects that group trip volume will advance 0.9 percent in 2015 and surge 3.1 percent in 2016. Spending, meanwhile, is projected to rise 5.3 percent this year and another 4.3 percent in 2016.
- Individual business travel had its best year since The Great Recession in 2014, as volume grew 3.7 percent over 2013. Growth gained momentum over the latter half of the year and continues into 2015 as the domestic economy picks up steam and businesses send more workers on the road in support of top-line growth. We expect individual business travel volume will gain another 1.0 percent this year on its way to 302 million Person-Trips and spending on individual business travel will grow 4.9 percent to $134.8 billion.
- Significant challenges to global economy remain, particularly in parts of Europe, China, Russia and Brazil. These factors coupled with a significantly stronger dollar are all weighing on the prospects for international outbound business travel over the next six quarters. GBTA’s outlook projects that international outbound business travel will grow 3.9 percent this year; down from last quarter’s forecast of 5.1 percent.
- Travel price inflation (TPI) is comprised of a number of travel goods and services including airfare, food away from home and lodging. Travel prices should only rise 1.7 percent this year before regaining more robust growth in 2016.