GBTA Upgrades 2013 Business Travel Forecast for U.S.

The Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) released on April 9 its latest GBTA BTI Outlook report on the United States, as part of its semiannual series.

U.S. business travel is expected to rise 5.1% in 2013 to $268.5 billion; up from the 4.6% growth to $266.7 billion forecast from last quarter.

According to the report, the growth is dependent on stronger growth in group spending, which is expected to increase 6.0% to $115.9 billion — an upgrade of the forecasted 5.2% growth in Q4.

GBTA’s outlook for trip volume remains at a slight decline of -1.1% to 431.7 million person-trips.

The GBTA BTI, a proprietary index of business travel activity, is forecasted to reach 121 in Q1 2013, exceeding its pre-recession high of 120. The BTI is expected to continue rising for the rest of 2013 to reach 126 by the end of the year.

The report also revealed a correlation between stock prices and business travel spending, showing that stock prices lead trip volume by 1-2 quarters. GBTA said business travel should pick up additional momentum throughout the second half of 2013.  

Lastly, job development is increasing in industries that require more business travel such as business services, finance and utilities. 

“Business confidence is up and the need to compete in the global economy is driving companies to invest in business travel,” said GBTA Executive Director and COO Michael W. McCormick. “While there are still many factors that could hamper the economy again, from the impact of sequestration to rising energy prices, business travel spending is heading in the right direction so far in 2013.”

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