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Good News for Global Business Travel: Continued Growth, says new study

A new business study by the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) reports that spending on business travel is expected to rise throughout 2013, and continue to increase over the next several years.

The annual GBTA BTI™ Outlook — Annual Global Report & Forecast was sponsored by Visa, Inc., and examines travel spending in 75 countries, along with the top industries, economic factors and characteristics that influence business travel.

According to the GBTA, the world’s premier business travel and meetings organization, global spending on business trips is expected to reach $1.12 trillion in 2013 — a 5.4 percent increase over 2012, and growth in future years looks even better. The study also found the strongest business travel spending in developing markets, such as countries in the Asia Pacific and Latin America regions.

The GBTA said “Steady business travel spending in the second half of 2013 is expected to lay the foundation for 8.2 percent growth in 2014, followed by 7.6 percent, 7.2 percent and 7.1 percent growth in 2015, 2016 and 2017 respectively.”

Business travel spending in the U.S., which was the world’s largest spender in 2012 at $262 billion, is projected to show annual growth of 4.5 percent this year, followed by annual increases of 5.9 percent, 4.2 percent, 3.2 percent and 3.3 percent from 2014 through 2017, the GBTA said.

Spending in the Asia-Pacific region has doubled since 2000, reaching a total of $393 billion in 2012. China has become the region’s leader, where business travel spending shot up from $32 billion in 2000 to $196 billion in 2012. China’s spending is expected to reach $375 billion by 2017, surpassing the U.S. as the world’s biggest business travel market.

Other GBTA findings: Last year, India surpassed Canada to become the world’s 10th largest business travel market, with total spending of $22.1 billion. Over the next five years, the GBTA projects India’s business travel spending will grow at an annual rate of 13.5 percent, making it one of the fastest growing markets in the world.

Spending in Brazil, which hit $30 billion in 2012, is expected to grow at an average of 7.3 percent per year for the next five years, becoming the world’s sixth-largest business travel market in 2014, surpassing France and Italy, and reaching $45 billion by 2017.

In another recent study …

In 2012, small businesses with less than 500 employees companies spent more on business travel than larger ones, according to a new Concur study.

Concur, a leading provider of business travel expense reporting systems, looked at data by employees of its 18,000 corporate clients who collectively spent more than $50 billion in spending in 2012.

The Concur report found that the average total spending on travel and entertainment as filed on expense reports was $3,244 per quarter last year. Air fares accounted for the biggest portion of domestic spending, while hotels took the largest bite for international trips.

Per quarter, small to mid-market businesses traveled more often than their large market counterparts, purchasing more air tickets (37 percent), meals (29 percent) and rental cars (65 percent).

The study also found a huge increase in the amounts that business travelers spent on ancillary fees that used to be included in the basic cost of travel, such as checked baggage and onboard entertainment. The total in ancillary fee spending as shown on expense reports jumped from $30 million in 2011 to $58 million in 2012.

Concur said that, “The fact that ancillary spending nearly doubled from 2011 to 2012 reflects two key facts — customers are using automated tools to more accurately track their ancillary spending, while airlines, hotels and other providers have gotten more savvy about componentizing their services to collect more cash in a down market.”

Mobile devices are becoming a more common tool in companies’ expense management processes. Concur also reported that logins to the Concur mobile expense app more than tripled from 2011 to 2012. Nearly 73 percent of those logins were via Apple iOS, while Android (14.6 percent) and BlackBerry (12.7 percent) were also popular.

In looking at spending by destination, Concur determined that the most expensive city for international travel was Brisbane, Australia, followed by Tokyo and Sydney. The most expensive domestic business destinations last year were — in order — New York City, San Francisco, Garden City (N.Y.), Washington D.C., Boston, Long Island, Chicago, Miami, Las Vegas, and Santa Clara (Calif.).

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