So Business Travel News released their 2008 Corporate Travel Index. What follows is my breakdown of the domestic results, doing what I do best: minimizing the fuss and getting down to the nitty-gritty, so you can get back to work.
Comprising up to 44 percent of the traveler’s final costs on the road, the market remained firm in 2007. However, these costs tended to vary greatly from city to city, with the difference in hotel cost between the cities ranked first and fifth larger than that between the fifth- and 100th-ranked cities. New York City, unsurprisingly, stands alone with the great height of its hotel rates. There the average hotel rate is $325.80 per night, 30 percent higher than Washington, D.C., which is the next most expensive city.
The weakening dollar also had a large impact these rising rates. In the report, for example, several cities that showed noticeable year-over-year rate increases in dollars — Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles, for example — had declining rates when considered in British pounds, proving once again that European tourists are loving this side of the Atlantic for travel.
Another interesting facet of our overall economic changes is BTN’s decision to redefine the distinction between hotel properties, forgoing terms like “upscale” and “midprice” for the less-ambiguous “full-service” and “limited-service.” This choice was a result of the lessening discrepancies of price between those two tiers.
Finally, the survey showed that hotel taxes ranged from 8 percent to more than 17 percent.
Business travelers should — and does this ever change? — expect the cost of meals to grow in top business travel destinations. Meal costs for businesses are predicted to grow by 5 percent this year, fueled by increases at hotel restaurants. The good news? Many restaurateurs are curbing meal prices in an attempt to keep tables full.
Still, experts say 2008 will be the fifth consecutive year of menu price inflation in excess of 3 percent, an unprecedented rise for recent history. According to this year’s Corporate Travel Index, the cost of three meals a day in the top 100 business travel destinations averaged $94.34. New York, Boston, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Portland, Oregon reigned as the most expensive cities in which to dine.
According to the travel index, the average car rental cost is at $81.95, with a full-size vehicle averaging $85.02 and a midsize costing about $78.88. These costs are down slightly from the previous average of $85.81.
However, for the coming year, a slight increase is still expected: between 1 and 5 percent, depending on the experts asked.
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