Published On: Wed, Oct 23rd, 2013

Strong Outlook for 2014 U.S. Business and Group Travel

GBTA_logoWILLEMSTAD - Fueled by steady corporate profits, increases in business investment and an improving U.S. economy, the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) predicts that 2014 will be a “robust” year for business travel spending.

In its latest “GBTA BTI Outlook – United States” report, GBTA forecasts a 7.2 percent increase in business travel spending — to $288.8 billion — and a 1.6 percent increase in business travel volume, to 459.2 million person-trips.

International and Group Travel

GBTA’s outlook and concerns are repeated in its forecast for international and group travel: International outbound spending will increase by 12.4 percent, to $36.6 billion, on a 7.2 perceNt increase in trips, it says. Meanwhile, group travel spending will increase by 7.2 percent, to $124.1 billion, on a 1.5 percent increase in trips.

“The healthy thing for airlines, hotels and car rentals (is) when you have international travelers, whether inbound or outbound, they spend more because of longer haul flights,” said Michael McCormick, GBTA’s executive director and COO.  He added that the more expensive premium economy and business class seats are also “more in demand” on international flights.

Kevin Mitchell, chairman of the Business Travel Coalition, which represents the interests of corporate travel departments, told USA Today that he’s also noticed the recovery.

“U.S. companies are profitable and sitting on excess cash.  So, when the conditions appear right to exploit new business opportunities, as they appear to be, business travel activity is the tool of choice.”

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