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December 12, 2006
Business Travel Costs Could Rise Sharply in 2007

The cost of business trips will increase again in 2007, as expenses for hotels, airfare, and car travel are expected to rise significantly, USA Today reports.

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The article cites a recently issued American Express Global Travel Forecast, which reports that the average domestic business trip is expected to rise about $46 in 2007, or a 4.5 percent increase. The average international business trip is likely to rise about $180 next year, or a 4.6 percent increase.

Average daily rates in "upscale and luxury hotels" could rise as high as 8 percent in 2007 and mid-price hotels are likely to rise between 3 and 6 percent over 2006 rates. The article reports that in response, many employers plan to book fewer luxury hotels and more mid-price hotels.

Higher rental rates and gasoline prices are the main drivers behind escalating expenses for travel by car in 2007. American Express forecasts as much as a 6 percent increase in rental rates, in part because U.S. car manufacturers are raising prices for rental companies to compensate for lagging sales. Meanwhile, the Forecast predicts that gas rates could exceed $3 per gallon by early next year.

Meanwhile, airfares, American Express predicts, could increase as much as 6 percent over 2006 rates. The article notes that the number of business travelers continues to climb even though average fares have risen by 18 percent or more in the past 2 years, but travel demand--including business travel--has remained high. As one business traveler told the newspaper, the need for "face time" never goes away, "especially if the customer is having a problem."

Source: USA Today

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