August 9 2013 by Chris McGinnis
In case you've not noticed yet, business travel has really taken off this year. You can see it in the packed planes-- when was the last time you had an empty seat next to you? The frequent hotel sell-outs-- how many times have you been turned away from your favorite Best Western? The traffic. And of course, the rising prices?
Along with several Best Western executives, I attended the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) convention in San Diego this month where all of these observations were confirmed. According to a report released at the event, global spending on business travel will reach $1.12 trillion in 2013--that's a 5.4% increase over last year. Next year is expected to be an even stronger year--GBTA predicts spending will increase 8.2% in 2014.
The US remains the biggest spender when it comes to business travel, with $262 billion spent last year. However, China is nipping at the heels of the US, and is expected to surpass it in business travel spending by 2016.
India and Brazil are also expected to post big gains in spending as their economies quickly expand. For example, India surpassed Canada to become the tenth largest business travel market in the world in 2012.
Mexico is also on the rise--it is expected to experience the largest increase in spending in North America as economic reforms are put into place that should result in an economy growing faster than the US or Canada.
Europe has experienced economic malaise over the last several years due to its sovereign debt issues. However, GBTA expects that the worst is over for Europe, and business travel spending should bounce back over the next five years.
Have you noticed a big increase in business travel spending at your company? Does everything seem a little more crowded and expensive out there? Please leave your comments below.
Chris McGinnis is Best Western's travel trends expert and business travel blogger on youmustbetrippin.com