Many companies put the brakes on business travel in the wake of the recession, seeing it as an easy way to save money. But business travel has been on a roll for the past couple of years, and it is expected to keep rising in 2015.
U.S. business travel is expected to rise 6.2 percent to $310.2 billion in 2015, according to a study by the Global Business Travel Association Foundation. And, trips are going up, as well. The GBTA Foundation estimates that there will be 490.4 million business related trips this year, up 1.7 percent.
The main reason: lower oil prices are expected to lead to increased consumer spending, boosting the kind of economic projects that involve business travel. That’s despite an overall weak global economic outlook, with trouble in Europe, Asia and Russia.
In 2014, the number of trips was up 1.4 percent over 2013. One of the biggest drivers in rising travel in 2014 was plummeting oil prices, which created favorable business trip conditions. 2014 was a comeback year for international outbound business travel, growing 6 percent in volume year-over-year, after falling 1 percent in 2012 and rising only 1.1 percent in 2013.
Although U.S. business travel is expected to be strong, global economic growth remains in a weakened state, the study found.
Europe – especially Russia – is barely treading water, China’s growth is moderating, Japan’s challenges continue and emerging markets are awaiting more robust performance from the developed world. So, you might find a different picture for companies whose employees travel mainly in the U.S., and those with operations abroad.
For story ideas, check in with the business travel staff at your area companies. Universities are also big sources of business travel. And, you might ask entrepreneur groups in your area what kind of travel their members are doing.