Amex Predicts Slow to Negative Growth Rates for Air, Hotel and Car Rental in 2009

American Express Business Travel published on October 22 its annual Global Business Travel Forecast and Trends report. In certain markets, the Forecast predicts a negative increase in 2009 to airfares and hotel rates.

Car rental rates are expected to remain flat, or increase at rates slower than airfares and hotel rates, the report states.

Airlines

While airline rates may decrease, the overall price paid for an airline flight may actually increase, as “airlines continue their pursuit of expanding the suite of fees charged for services such as in-flight meals and baggage,” said Hervé Sedky, vice president and general manager, Global Advisory Services, American Express Business Travel.

The proliferation of new fees and a delicate supply and demand balancing act will determine whether global airfares remain steady, increase or potentially decrease compared to 2008.

Hotel

Although American Express Business Travel forecasts some rate growth in the global hotel industry, most regions will likely experience declines in occupancy, which will keep rate increases below the level of those seen in 2008.

Car Rental

Competition will help to moderate any increase in the cost of a car rental, while an anticipated increase in demand, which is expected to be led by corporations directing employees to car rentals instead of using their personal vehicles, will add pressure to increase the cost of a rental.

Amex predicts a (-2)% to 3% increase in car rental rates for North America, which is marginally slower than the predicted (-3)% to 6% growth rate for airline fares and the (-2)% to 6% growth rate for hotels.

Overall

“Considering airfare, car rental and hotel stay, we expect the average domestic trip to increase 2.8 percent, or $31 USD, to a total of approximately $1139 USD,” Sedky said.

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