Report: 'Modest' Increase in Meeting Costs Coming in 2016

Price Tag with Stars

In most regions of the world, organizations can expect "only modest increases" in meeting costs and sizes next year, according to a new report from Carlson Wagonlit Travel (CWT) and the GBTA Foundation, the education and research arm of the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA).

The "2016 Global Travel Price Outlook" report notes two exceptions: North America, which will see a 4.5 percent increase in cost per attendee per day in 2016, due primarily to food and beverage pressures, and Asia Pacific, which due to strong demand from China and India will see a 5 percent increase in cost and an 11 percent increase in group size.

CWT's and GBTA's forecast is similar for airfare costs: Globally, prices will remain essentially flat, it says, although prices in select regions and destinations will grow. In Asia Pacific and Latin America, for instance, airline prices will increase 1.2 percent and 0.8 percent, respectively; in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa they will increase 0.4 percent; and in North America they will increase 0.5 percent. In six global "hot spots," however, prices will increase more substantially: Colombia (3 percent), Mexico (3 percent), Singapore (3 percent), India (2.6 percent), China (2.8 percent), and Australia (2.7 percent).

CWT and GBTA also forecasted 2016 prices for hotels and ground transportation: Hotel prices will increase worldwide due to high demand, which outpaces supply in every major global region. Increases will be largest in North America, Latin America, and Asia Pacific, where hotel prices will rise 4.3 percent, 3.7 percent, and 3 percent, respectively. Car rental prices, meanwhile, will remain "stagnant" worldwide due to weak demand and poor fleet management.

"Business travel is a leading indicator of global economic activity," said Joseph Bates, GBTA Foundation vice president of research. "The top-line pricing outlook for air, hotel, and ground in 2016 is surprisingly stable. But when you dig deeper, the data reveal global hot spots where demand is driving air travel price increases. For 2016, India, China, Colombia, Mexico, Singapore, and Australia are projected to top the list."

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