American Express released its 2010 Global Business Travel Forecast on Wednesday, in a presentation that was, for the first time, broadcast via telepresence from studios in New York, Mexico City and London. Use of the technology underscored one of the forecast's central themes: The new mindset in corporate travel is to consider the various options available to connect with business partners globally. Even as the economy is expected to improve in the coming year, indicated Global Travel Services president Charles Petruccelli, companies will look at travel as an investment more than a cost, and take those trips that are most strategically beneficial.
Globally, American Express believes airfare will increase slightly in 2010, due in large part to pent-up demand and decreased supply. The company predicts domestic/short-haul (economy) fares will go up between 0 and 5 percent globally, and international/long-haul (business class) will increase from 1 to 6 percent. In North America, domestic fares are forecast to rise between 2 and 7 percent, while international fare increases should match the global average. Mid-range hotel rates, meanwhile, are predicted to change from a 3 percent drop to a 2 percent rise globally; upper-range hotel rates may change between a 4 percent drop and a 1 percent increase. North American properties rates are expected to fall 1 to 4 percent for mid-range hotels and decline by 3 to 6 percent in the upper range. Asia Pacific suppliers should fare best globally; it's the only region for which increases are called for in both airfare and hotel rates.