International Business Trip Costs Remain Flat, While Domestic Trip Nights and Prices Increased in First Quarter of 2017

May 5, 2017

As long as the U.S. dollar remains strong, we anticipate this trend will continue. In addition, we are continually analyzing our clients’ data to ensure they are taking advantage of every opportunity to maximize their travel spend, both internationally and domestically

Travel Leaders Corporate revealed Q1 business travel data related to hotel rates, airline advanced purchase and rental car rates, in addition to trip costs


Plymouth, MN (May 5, 2017) – Travel Leaders Corporate, an award-winning leader in business travel, has released an analysis of its clients’ aggregate business travel bookings from the first quarter of 2017. The data shows that business travelers are still benefiting from the strong U.S. dollar with the average international trip cost (air, hotel and car) at $2,167 in Q1, which was on par with Q4 2016, and down 4% compared to the first quarter of 2016. Domestically, the average length of a trip is increasing and so, too, is the average overall cost – spiking 5%, which represents the largest quarter over quarter increase since 2012. Additionally, Travel Leaders Corporate’s quarterly data showed an increase in average nightly hotel rates for 16 of the top 25 cities in the United States.


Quarter over quarter, the average cost of an international business trip is relatively flat. Taking a longer historical view, there has been a sharp decline since late 2014. During that time span, the average cost (air, hotel, and car) for an international business trip has decreased from $2,602 in Q4 2014 to $2,167 Q1 2017 – a 17% decline.


“The good news is that companies engaging in a significant amount of international business travel found themselves in an enviable price-savings position during the first quarter of 2017,” said Gabe Rizzi, President of Travel Leaders Corporate. “As long as the U.S. dollar remains strong, we anticipate this trend will continue. In addition, we are continually analyzing our clients’ data to ensure they are taking advantage of every opportunity to maximize their travel spend, both internationally and domestically.”


Domestically, prices rose resulting in some companies incurring higher travel expenses. In the first quarter of 2017, the average cost for a domestic trip increased 5% to $988. This quarter over quarter percentage increase represents the largest jump in five years. The average cost for a domestic airline ticket increased slightly from $402 to $412, while the average hotel trip cost escalated 8% from $381 to $412. This was driven, in part, by increases in airline costs and hotel stays; for example in Q1 2017, the average length of a domestic business trip grew to slightly longer than three days (the average length of domestic business trips has only been longer one other time in the past seven years).


“Pricing and overall travel spending is always a delicate balance for companies. We work together, with our clients, to assist their travelers in understanding and embracing all aspects of the organization’s travel policy,” Rizzi continued. “In analyzing this data, the increase in domestic trip length is an excellent barometer for the relatively stronger financial footing companies are experiencing. They recognize the value in having their employees travel more – even when there is only a modest increase in their travel budget. The ROI is likely far greater, meaning the dollars spent on travel are beneficial to the company’s overall goals.”


Travel Leaders Corporate also released data on hotel and car rental costs from the top 25 U.S. markets. Sixteen of these cities experienced an increase in average nightly rates, which also contributed to the higher total domestic trip cost. Phoenix’s average hotel prices increased 26%, as did a host of Florida cities such as: Fort Lauderdale (22%), Tampa (18%), Miami (16%) and Orlando (12%). Of the nine cities where average nightly hotel rates declined, the biggest declines were in Chicago ($186 in Q4 to $149 in Q1), Detroit ($176 in Q4 to $148 in Q1) and New York ($261 in Q4 to $215 in Q1).


Other key findings:


  • Airline Advanced Purchase: Travel Leaders Corporate’s first quarter data indicates that corporate travelers are split nearly evenly in each category of advanced purchasing of airline tickets: 0-6 days before departure, 7-13 days before departure, 14-20 days before departure, and 21 or more days before departure. As a best practice, Travel Leaders Corporate recommends booking at least 14 days in advance for cost savings, and for those booking at least 21 days in advance, instead of 0-6 days, there is an average price difference of $128. This data may be viewed here.


  • Rental Cars: The average daily rate for car rentals nationally is $38.11, a 3% drop from the last quarter and now the lowest average daily rate since 2010.


  • Trip Costs: Travel Leaders Corporate data on airline advanced purchases, and domestic and international unit and trip costs from air, car and hotel can be viewed here.


  • Hotel Rates: Travel Leaders Corporate data on the average nightly hotel rates in the top 25 U.S. markets can be viewed here.


For more information or to take advantage of Travel Leaders Corporate’s personalized service and cutting-edge corporate business travel solutions that provide a complete travel enrichment experience, email or call 877-404-4173.



Travel Leaders Corporate is part of Travel Leaders Group, which is the highest ranking American travel management company in Business Travel News’ Business Travel Survey 2016, and has annual sales of nearly $21 billion. Travel Leaders Corporate’s three service offerings – Travel Fulfillment, Travel Consulting and Meetings Management – which can be used independently or combined for maximum results. At Travel Leaders Corporate, each client is served by a dedicated team of U.S.-based agents assigned to each account. With a reputation built on reliability and a commitment to excellence, Travel Leaders Corporate offers its clients industry-leading products and services, and continuously seeks higher levels of performance. Headquartered in Plymouth, MN, and with employees in more than 120 cities across the United States, Travel Leaders Corporate is a forward-thinking, innovative company with a focus on continually improving the customer experience.

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