Business travelers will see their fares increase industry-wide in 2023

Global travel prices are expected to continue rising in the third and fourth quarters of 2022 and throughout 2023, according to the Global Business Travel Forecast 2023.

Released on August 10 by CWT, a B2B4E travel management platform, and the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA), the forecast covers the drivers of price increases. According to the report, these are rising fuel prices, labor shortages and inflationary pressures on raw material costs.

This is on top of a projected increase for the year 2022 in air fares of 48.5%, hotel fares of 18.5% and car rental costs of 7.3%.

The forecast uses anonymized data generated by CWT and GBTA to determine its results – with publicly available industry information, econometric and statistical modeling developed by the Avrio Institute.

The findings of the report are detailed below.

Macroeconomic influences

The global economy shrank 3.4% in 2020 in one of the worst declines since World War II. Service sectors, including travel and hospitality, have been particularly hard hit. However, the global economy has recovered strongly, surpassing 2020 lows and growing by 5.8% in 2021.

Economic growth is slowing as the recovery drags on, although another recession is a growing concern. The current base case for 2022 is for 3% growth, followed by 2.8% growth in 2023.

Cautionary notes are also highlighted in the 2023 Global Business Travel Forecast, among which three main forces are putting pressure on the economy and the business travel industry.

  • These include the Russian invasion of Ukraine coupled with other geopolitical uncertainties.
  • Inflationary pressures push up costs.
  • The risk of new Covid-19 outbreaks could restrict business travel.

Conversely, as companies rank sustainability among their top priorities and reflect the increased importance of tackling climate change, the report highlights greater visibility at the point of sale for more travel options. ecological.

Additionally, emphasis was placed on carbon footprinting and environmental impact assessment as opportunities for the travel industry to actively help make responsible choices.

Meetings and Events

Prices rose in all regions across most spending categories, fueled by pent-up demand, a desire to develop an entrepreneurial culture and an uncertain economic outlook. The cost per attendee for meetings and events in 2022 is expected to be approximately 25% higher than in 2019 and is expected to increase further by 7% in 2023.

Along with pent-up demand, corporate events are now competing with other types of events that were canceled in 2020. With many businesses giving up office space during the pandemic in favor of remote working, they are now booking meeting spaces when staff meet in person – further fueling demand.

Shorter timelines for events, ranging from one to three months versus six to 12 months, also contribute to this perfect storm. This is underscored by business concerns that the situation could change quickly.

Asia-Pacific concerns have been particularly noticeable, as the region has been slower than others to reopen after the pandemic. Ongoing restrictions in China have prompted clients to ensure their events can proceed as quickly as possible.

Air

Business travel airfares fell more than 12% in 2020 compared to 2019, followed by a further drop of 26% in 2021.

Economy class ticket prices have fallen by more than 24% between 2019 and 2021, while premium tickets have fallen by 33%. Prices are expected to increase by 48.5% in 2022, but are expected to remain below pre-pandemic levels through 2023. Following a 48.5% increase in 2022, prices are then expected to increase by 8.4% in 2023.

Growing demand and the continued rise in jet fuel prices, which have more than doubled in some markets to more than $160 a barrel according to S&P Global, are putting upward pressure on ticket prices. Premium class tickets accounted for more than 7% of all tickets purchased in 2019. The share of premium class tickets fell to 6.5% in 2020 and 4.5% in 2021, but started to increase in 2022 .

During the first half of the year, premium tickets represented 6.2% of all tickets purchased. An increasing share of premium class tickets will result in higher average fares, as the average ticket price includes economy class and premium class.

International and cross-border bookings are picking up in most regions, which will translate into a higher share of international ticket bookings. This will also correspond to a higher average ticket price despite the uncertainties caused by the war in Ukraine, according to the report.

After two years of minimal or no spending, business travelers are likely to voluntarily spend more on tickets, especially as availability dwindles due to labor shortages. This upward trend is largely due to widespread vaccine deployments and the reopening of borders.

Hotel

Hotel prices fell by 13.3% in 2020 compared to 2019 and another 9.5% in 2021, however, the report forecasts that they will increase by 18.5% in 2022, followed by an increase of 8.2% in 2023.

Prices have already surpassed 2019 levels in some regions such as Europe, the Middle East, Africa and North America. They are expected to do so globally by 2023.

Hotel rates have risen sharply in some parts of the world, including a 22% increase in North America and a forecast 31.8% in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. This is due to an accelerated recovery coupled with continued capacity constraints.

These increases were initially driven by strong leisure travel in 2021, but group travel for MICE events is improving. Temporary business travel is also gaining momentum, putting additional pressure on average daily hotel rates.

Land transportation

Global car rental prices fell by 2.5% in 2020 compared to 2019, before increasing by 5.1% in 2021. Prices are expected to increase by 7.3% in 2022 and by 6.8 additional % in 2023.

The auto industry remains constrained in capacity and rental agencies, which have downsized their fleets during the pandemic, have yet to fully recover. This is partly due to component shortages and supply chain disruptions that have curtailed global automotive production.

Rental agencies have started to buy used vehicles again to increase the size of their fleet and keep their vehicles longer. Some agencies also purchase vehicles from automakers outside of their historically supported brands.

Rising prices, vehicle shortages, and the need for door-to-door carbon emissions visibility are driving corporate travel managers to incorporate ground transportation into comprehensive travel planning. This is especially true when it comes to electric vehicles.

Although widespread adoption may still be a few years away, personal preference should not be underestimated.

Information such as geographical breakdowns and in-depth information on trends and analysis can be found in the report, here.