The National Business Travel Association
(NBTA) is forecasting that travel management costs for U.S.
corporations will rise an average of 9% next year, though it said
most travel components, such as hotel and car rental rates, will
rise by smaller amounts than the average.
In its 2006
forecast, the NBTA said travel managers expect the higher costs to
result from a combination of higher prices as well as an increased
number of trips.
The forecast is
based on an online survey of 130 corporate travel managers, two-
thirds of whom said they anticipate an increase in fares and rates
of up to 10%. Another 8% said they expect even higher increases,
while about 9% said they expect a decrease. Just under 17% expect
As for specific
travel components, the consensus estimate is for increases that
range from 4% to 9% in air, hotel, car rental and meal
would produce an average cost increase of less than 9%, but the
NBTA said the average is also affected by additional considerations
such as technology expenditures and employment benefits.
The survey of
corporate travel managers also revealed that the use of online
booking tools has risen to 70%, while another 10% plan to begin
using one in the next six months. Only about 6% said they have no
plans to use an online tool.
Without offering a
percentage figure, the NBTA said it has seen a significant rise
in interest in the corporate travel
offerings of the giant Internet travel distributors such as Expedia, Travelocity and Orbitz. It said
travel managers report quicker adoption rates with tools offered by
the online giants, because users tend to be already familiar with
A majority of
travel managers, about 60%, estimated their average daily room rate
at about $75.
For car rentals,
most managers, 63%, estimated their average daily rate between $30
About half of
survey respondents said they had 50 or fewer preferred hotels; for
car rentals, nearly 39% said they had one preferred vendor, and 51%
majority, nearly 94%, reported a clear trend of shifting hotel
bookings away from the luxury category toward midlevel