Last month, the GBTA Foundation and Carlson Wagonlit Travel (CWT) released the 2017 Global Travel Price Outlook. The third annual report provides global, regional and country-by-country projections for air travel, hotel, ground transportation and meetings and events prices in 2017.
At GBTA Convention 2016, I had the opportunity to sit down with Yon Abad, Senior Director of the Americas for CWT Solutions Group, to talk about what this report means for the industry – both for buyers and suppliers – as well as how global uncertainty and recent events like the Brexit may impact the forecast.
The report identified six key risks heading into 2017 that could impact both travel industry prices and the global economy as a whole: emerging market performance, financial market turbulence, geopolitical risks, uncertainty surrounding Brexit, potentially fluctuating U.S. interest rates and oil prices.
The outlook provides pricing forecasts across the four industry segments for 30 countries. Here are some global highlights:
Airline prices are projected to increase only slightly (2.5 percent) in 2017, while fares may actually fall below 2015 levels in some markets due to continued low oil prices. Ancillary fees will have an increasing impact: they grew to 7.8 percent of global airline revenue in 2015, up from 6.7 percent in 2014 and that trend is set to continue.
Mega hotel mergers are grabbing headlines, but their impact on prices likely won’t be felt until 2018. Hotel services such as room service, laundry and security remain important to corporate travelers. Traditional hotels, therefore, remain an attractive option for business travelers, despite the sharing economy options.
An intensely competitive climate will dictate continued flat pricing for the global ground transportation sector.
Meetings & Events
Modest increases in cost per attendee, per day, for meetings and events are expected for Asia Pacific and North America. Europe is expected to remain flat and Latin America will see a decrease of 10 percent. Group sizes will increase marginally in the 3-6 percent range for Asia Pacific, Europe and North America, while remaining flat in Latin America.