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Corporate travel spending continues unabated in the US

Three business people wait in a hotel lobby as part of corporate travel


Travel spending is set to continue strongly in 2019, with nearly all sources expecting spending to increase or remain flat year-to-year. Most said their companies have not found it necessary to make any specific policy changes to address global security concerns, and no shifts in preferred hotel classes/types are anticipated in 2019 vs. 2018.

Interviews with corporate travel managers, travel agents and an industry expert in the US revealed that 60% expect corporate travel spending to increase in 2019 vs. 2018 due to increased hotel pricing and internal growth, while 32% expect it to remain flat, and 8% expect it to decrease – up an average 6% overall. In addition, 44% of sources expect the number of employees traveling to meetings and conventions to increase in 2019 vs. 2018, while 40% expect it to remain flat – up an average 3% overall. As to travel policies, 64% of sources’ companies have not adjusted them this year, while 36% said they are more restrictive, most often because of a desire to better protect employees or track their expenditures. 

Expected corporate travel spending
YtY comparison of multi-year Grassroots® Research study (% of sources citing)

Year-to-year comparison of Grassroots survey on expected corporate travel

Source: Grassroots® Research

Still, 80% of sources have not made any specific policy changes due to heightened global security concerns, most often because their primary destinations are not areas of concern, while 20% are either implementing or evaluating duty-of-care programs (a company’s moral or legal obligation to take care of traveling employees’ health and safety) or restricting travel to specific areas of the world, with destinations in Asia most frequently cited. 

Meanwhile, 96% who commented do not expect any shifts regarding preferred hotel classes/types in 2019 vs. 2018. In addition, 92% expect hotel prices to increase in 2019 vs. 2018 due to the hotel companies’ variable pricing power – up an average 3% overall. Sixty-eight percent of sources expect airfares to increase, while 24% expect them to remain flat – up an average 2% overall.

Expected attendance at meetings and conventions
YtY comparison of multi-year Grassroots® Research study (% of sources citing)

Year-to-year comparison of Grassroots survey on expected corporate meeting and conference attendance

Source: Grassroots® Research


Grassroots® Research is a division of Allianz Global Investors that commissions investigative market research for asset-management professionals. Research data used to generate Grassroots® Research reports are received from independent, third-party contractors who supply research that, as far as permissible by applicable laws and regulations, may be paid for by commissions generated by trades executed on behalf of clients.


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