Amex Forecast Says Business Travel Costs Up, Policies Shift

On average, it cost more to buy corporate travel in 2006 than it did in 2005, Travel Weekly reports, and it will cost still more next year, according to the American Express 2007 Global Business Travel Forecast. The forecast said next year's average domestic North America trip—including air, hotel and car—will cost an extra $46, or 4.5 percent more than the 2006 average; the average international trip will cost another $180, representing a near-parallel rise of 4.6 percent.

However, those rising prices don't necessarily mean corporations will cut staff travel. According to Mike Streit, vice president and global leader for American Express Business Travel, Advisory Services, some companies are even increasing the amount of travel and, hence, the spending. He said companies "are becoming more sophisticated... they are now looking at travel spending as an investment. So they are not necessarily trying to travel less, but they want to buy it more wisely." As a practical matter, Streit said, they are or will be tightening travel policies, enforcing them more carefully and even using automated compliance technology, increasing the sales of those tools, according to Travel Weekly.

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