New Global Business Travel Report Forecasts Airfare Stability

Travelers walking together with luggage

American Express Global Business Travel (GBT) is forecasting that airfares will remain stable in 2019 despite some fluctuations on major routes.

The Air Monitor 2019 report found that fare levels should hold steady on many of the world’s major air routes throughout the year.

MORE Business Travel

Manhattan Bridge New York City Skyline. (photo by: sansara/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

2018’s Top Business Travel Destinations

Mobile payment, Man using mobile payments online shopping (Photo via ipopba / iStock / Getty Images Plus)

CWT Expands Mobile Air Bookings

Travelers walking together with luggage

Study Shows Bleisure Trips Are Becoming More Popular

Capacity and competition are two key factors that will keep rates stable in 2019. The report finds that an increase in both of these factors, including new low-cost carriers on long-haul routes will restrain a rise in airfares on key routes from Europe and Asia-Pacific even as fuel costs rise and the economy continues to grow.

While there is evidence for fare stability, current economic and political uncertainties and developments could impact the forecast, and there are some exceptions to the optimistic forecast. Demand for premium-class seats in North America is set to outpace capacity growth, meaning increases in fares for these seats in both North America and Europe.

On the flip side, there is projected to be overcapacity on Middle Eastern routes, meaning fare decreases in both business and economy classes.

“While current global political and economic uncertainties create a challenging environment for price forecasting, it’s important for buyers to access the information and insights that help them drive better value in their air programs,” said Joakim Johansson, vice president of business development, American Express GBT. “For the Air Monitor 2019, we have developed a robust, scientific methodology that combines GBT’s own historical flight transaction data with a wide range of critical metrics that drive supply and demand, shaping pricing conditions.”

Travel Agents Believe 2019 Will Bring a Boom in Business

Traveler's desk with a working computer

It’s shaping up to be a banner year for the travel business. If you are a travel agent, presumably you are betting on your clients increased wealth and social media channels to inspire them to book more vacations this year.

Research from global marketing communications firm Strategic Vision shows that 44 percent of companies surveyed in their annual Pulse of the Industry Survey indicated that their clients are optimistic about international travel, and 54 percent are optimistic about domestic travel. This is a major jump from last year, during which just 19 percent of respondents were optimistic about international travel and 29 percent for domestic.

MORE Travel Agent

boy, wheelchair, beach, beach wheelchair

TravelAbility Aims to Improve Travel for Travelers with…

ackpacker sit on cliff edge and looks at mount valley

Transformational Travel and What Agents Need to Know

Travel planning, trip planning

How Agents Can Score More Luxury Travel Sales

In fact, this year, very few people are cautious about traveling internationally, just 16 percent.

For luxury travel firms that cater to these travel advisors, this means 2019 could be one for the record books.

“The luxury travel industry is poised for yet another banner year in 2019,” says Peter Bates, president and founder of Strategic Vision, which services the luxury travel and lifestyle industries. “Travel and tourism is already the world’s largest industry—contributing $8.3 trillion to the global economy—and it continues to grow. The combination of social media, affordable flights, greater wealth, and globalization have created a new Age of Exploration. Of course, I should add, as a cautionary note, that in today’s political and economic climate, conditions can change quickly and unpredictably.”

Clients’ financial standings are one of the main factors buoying the industry. More than half of those surveyed indicated that the continued strength of the economy has led to more disposable income. However, high consumer confidence is also boosted by an increased determination to see the world.

“Our clients are always going to travel,” says Lia Bakin, Co-Founder of In The Know Experiences. “Politics, weather, terrorism… it’s all a part of everyday life now. People want to live life and enjoy themselves.”

The idea that clients are determined to travel is good news for destinations around the world but especially those that have been affected by recent tourism challenges, putting them on track to see major comebacks.

There was a significant drop in travel to the Caribbean last year as the region recovered from multiple hurricanes but the future looks brighter. Survey results show that 68 percent of respondents said that clients have planned or are planning a trip. Just 22 percent of those surveyed said that their clients were waiting for specific islands or resorts to recover.

Concerns about Zika have also subsided. Only only 2 percent of respondents said that the virus kept clients from booking Caribbean vacations. In last year’s survey, that number reached 10 percent.

In terms of what trips travelers are looking for in 2019, experiential travel ranks high among clients as does cruising.

When it comes to where travelers want to go, Italy remains at the top of the heap, even when other emerging destinations gain steam.

Panoramic view of Amalfi and harbor, Italy, Europe

“Italy remains untouchable,” says Kimberly Wilson Wetty, Co-Owner & Co-President of Valerie Wilson Travel. “Whether a first trip or your 20th, everyone always wants Italy. There is comfort in the consistency of what Italy offers from the great food and wine to amazing hotels and sightseeing, as well as the romance of the Italian people and culture.”

Other trending destinations, which fall in line with other surveys, include Japan, which is hosting the 2020 Olympic Games. Namibia, Botswana, and gorilla- trekking regions like Rwanda are popular in Africa and Egypt is making a comeback. Ireland, like Italy, is a safe destination that traveler enjoy over and over again, and Southeast Asia remains popular for its value and is front-of-mind once again after the soaring popularity of the film “Crazy Rich Asians.”

Also still topping travelers’ bucket lists is Iceland.

“Runaway success shows with Iceland as a backdrop such as ‘Game of Thrones’ created a buzz and an awareness among travelers everywhere. Social media hummed with increased awareness and interest in Iceland and its culture,” says Bell de Souza, vice president and COO of Mansour Travel Company.

2018’s Top Business Travel Destinations

Manhattan Bridge New York City Skyline. (photo by: sansara/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

After a global study, Egencia flight data confirmed that New York is the most popular business travel destination globally. The Big Apple is followed by London and Paris.

London hasn’t held the top spot since 2014 and Paris, is solidifying its spot as a business travel hub with air travel to the City of Light up by more than 20 percent from January 1, 2018, to December 1, 2018.

MORE Business Travel

Mobile payment, Man using mobile payments online shopping (Photo via ipopba / iStock / Getty Images Plus)

CWT Expands Mobile Air Bookings

Travelers walking together with luggage

Study Shows Bleisure Trips Are Becoming More Popular

Female business traveler

Safety a Common Concern for Female Business Travelers

Forecasts show that New York will continue to dominate the business travel market. Egencia flight data shows that business trip flight bookings to New York were nearly 10 percent higher than bookings to London in 2018.

Fourth on the list is Asian business hub Shanghai. China’s pre-eminent commerce center and, while Europe holds two spots in the top three and the U.S. takes the top spot, Asian destinations dominate the top 20. Singapore, Hong Kong and Tokyo rank sixth, eighth and ninth respectively, and Beijing came in at number 15, Mumbai was 17 on the list and Seoul was in the 20th spot.

The Middle East, South America and North Africa all have taken spots in the top 20 as well. Dubai came in at 11, according to Egencia data. Sao Paulo was 18 and Casablanca was number 19.

Overall, business travel is on the rise. Between January 1, 2014, and December 1, 2018, total business travel flight bookings increased globally by nearly 110 percent.

“While U.S. and European cities retain the top three spots, the most interesting takeaway is how global business travel has truly become with five of seven continents represented in the top 20 destinations,” said Andrew Dyer, Vice President of Global Supply at Egencia brand. “As business travel continues to grow, it’s never been more important for companies to have a traveler-friendly program that also provides unified global tools for travel managers to assist their travelers.”

Here are the official Egencia top business travel destinations:

—New York

—London

—Paris

—Shanghai

—Toronto

—Singapore

—San Francisco

—Hong Kong

—Tokyo

—Chicago

—Dubai

—Mexico City

—Boston

—Montreal

—Beijing

—Los Angeles

—Mumbai

—Sao Paulo

—Casablanca

—Seoul