US business travel is recovering

The amount being spent on business travel in the USA is expected to increase by five per cent in 2011, as one industry leader spoke of the sector’s ‘cautious optimism.’

According to research from the National Business Travel Association (NBTA) Foundation, the rate of growth in the spending could as much as double this year. Last year, business travel spend was up by around 2.3 per cent, a sharp contrast to the 14 per cent fall that was experienced in 2009.

The study findings form part of the NBTA’s latest Business Travel Quarterly Outlook report, which is based on the organisation’s Business Travel Index (BTI). The BTI measures the sector’s performance and it showed that the number of business trips fell unexpectedly during the third quarter of 2010. However, in the last three months of the year and into January 2011, the figure appeared to recover strongly.

NBTA executive director Michael McCormick told Meetpie: “Our research is ringing in the new year with reason for cautious optimism. The year wrapped up better than expected thanks to a number of factors including higher than expected GDP, stronger exports and very strong corporate profits. These trends are translating into greater business travel spending as companies invest in travel to drive revenues and compete aggressively in a recovering economic environment.”

Those with corporate venues for hire and owners of conference centres in London will be pleased to hear that international travel continues to be strong.

“International outbound travel in particular remains strong and should continue to grow through 2012 as American companies seek opportunity in robust export markets. Companies are once again recognising the value of face to face meetings with customers, prospects, partners and colleagues to build relationships and set the stage for top-line growth,” he added.

The total spent on business travel in the USA during the first quarter is estimate to be $58.8bn (£37bn), seven per cent higher than the during the same period last year. It is predicted that the number of trips taken to March 31st will be around 110 million – 8.6 per cent higher than the same period last year.