Julie Sickel, Business Travel News
Read the story at: Business Travel News
U.S. business travel is in a year-over-year decline, and that trend looks to continue during the next six months, according to the U.S. Travel Association's February Travel Trends Index.
The Travel Trends Index tracks two indices: The current travel index (CTI) measures monthly travel volume in the United States, including domestic and international inbound travel, and the leading travel index (LTI) measures the likely average pace and direction of U.S. travel volume during the next three- and six-month periods. Both metrics are scored at a 50 mark, with any trend below 50 indicating a decline and any value above 50 indicating an increase.
Domestic business travel scored 48.7 on the CTI for February, marking a decline from the previous year. Business travel scored a 49.6 in the LTI for the leading three months and 49.7 for the leading six months. These metrics stand in contrast to other travel segments, such as domestic leisure travel, which scored a 52.3 on the CTI for February.
The U.S. Travel Association attributes the slowdown in business travel volume to "oscillation in financial markets and general uncertainty." That evaluation squares with reports from TravelClick, a firm that provides monthly updates of advanced hotel booking behavior in North America. In its March review, TravelClick reported that the transient business booking pace during the next 12 months is down 1.8 percent from 2015.
"It's primarily driven by the turbulence in the financial markets," TravelClick senior industry analyst John Hach told BTN in February. "Companies are trying to keep a close eye on controllable expense. And travel, by most companies' estimates, is the second-largest controllable expense."
Though TravelClick sees the number of business bookings declining year over year during the next 12 months, it has the price of those bookings, measured in average daily rate, increasing 2.9 percent. That, too, jibes with a number of indications across the business travel industry that spending growth will outpace volume growth.