BTN's 2012 Corporate Travel Index - Business Travel News

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BTN's 2012 Corporate Travel Index

March 20, 2012 - 10:25 AM ET

The 2012 edition of the Business Travel News Corporate Travel Index, an annual effort to establish business travel per diems for 200 cities around the world, illustrates the tentative recovery experienced in 2011 by the industry. Hotel and food prices throughout all global regions generally rose when compared to 2010 levels, but the magnitude of those increases varied by cost segment and region.

To that end, BTN for the first time separated its roster of Corporate Travel Index cities outside the United States into three regions—the Americas (excluding the United States); Europe, the Middle East and Africa; and Asia/Pacific. This orientation reflects the operational geographical divisions used by many global companies and facilitates closer comparisons of business travel prices in specific regions.

[Please click here to view the digital edition of the 2012 Corporate Travel Index, featuring all per diem listings, downloadable as a pdf.] 

All per diems are based on hotel prices paid by BCD Travel corporate clients and food cost benchmarks supplied by consulting firm Mercer Inc; U.S. per diems also include car rental prices paid by BCD corporate clients, while non-U.S. per diems include miscellaneous costs calculated by Mercer. The full Corporate Travel Index methodology is detailed below.

For the first time in several years, the 2012 edition of the Corporate Travel Index contains neither major methodological changes from the previous year nor any changes to its roster of 200 cities, enabling more precise analysis of year-over-year changes to travel price data. Each table of data includes annual changes in travel prices for cost segments in each city listed.

Such data shows an aggregate year-over-year increase of 4.1 percent in total per diem costs outside the United States—5.3 percent in Asia/Pacific; 4.6 percent in the Americas region (excluding U.S.); and 3.7 percent in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Inside the United States, the average total per diem cost rose by a more modest 0.9 percent, a figure affected by a 2.9 percent decline in the daily cost of a car rental, a cost category not included in Corporate Travel Index per diems outside the United States. Total per diems as listed in this Corporate Travel Index are $287.76 in the United States and an average of $366 elsewhere—$389 in Europe, the Middle East and Africa; $359 in Asia/Pacific; and $303 in the Americas.

2012 CORPORATE TRAVEL INDEX METHODOLOGY 

The 2012 edition of the Business Travel News Corporate Travel Index is based on actual prices paid in 2011 by corporate clients of BCD Travel, provided to BTN by BCD's Advito consulting arm, as well as research conducted by BTN director of research and media strategy David Meyer and New York-based consulting firm Mercer Inc.

U.S. Corporate Travel Index 

Total U.S. per diems listed are compiled by adding the average hotel, car and food costs listed on subsequent pages. BTN calculated the year-over-year change percentages in relation to total 2010 per diems listed in the 2011 Corporate Travel Index, which were compiled in the same manner as this year's data.

Hotel: The hotel cost charts display average upper upscale, upscale and midprice hotel rates paid by BCD Travel corporate clients from January to November 2011, in addition to an overall average daily rate. That overall rate is not calculated by averaging rates from the three listed tiers, as it also incorporates luxury and economy tiers. Average hotel costs include 2011 sales and occupancy taxes and surcharges based on information collected from each city's convention and visitors bureau, chamber of commerce or other public data. Year-over-year percentage changes are calculated inclusive of tax and surcharge data.

Car Rental: The car rental costs are averages for each city based on actual rates paid by BCD Travel corporate clients from January to November 2011 for compact, intermediate and full-size rentals, and include taxes and surcharges, also calculated by Advito. Year-over-year percentage changes are calculated inclusive of tax and surcharge data.

Food: BTN this year commissioned New York consulting firm Mercer Inc. to survey restaurateurs and calculate the cost of standard meals in each location. Totals reflect January 2012 pricing for a breakfast of two eggs, meat, toast, orange juice and coffee; a lunch of soup, a hamburger or chicken sandwich, a slice of pie and a soft drink; and a dinner of soup, filet steak, a glass of red wine, dessert and a cup of coffee. The listed costs do not include tax but do include a 15 percent gratuity.

Americas, EMEA & Asia/Pacific Corporate Travel Index 

As with U.S. Corporate Travel Index data, per diems for the 100 listed cities outside the United States are based on prices paid in 2011 by corporate clients of BCD Travel, provided to BTN by BCD's Advito consulting arm, as well as research conducted by Mercer.

For the Americas (excluding the United States), Europe/Middle East/Africa and Asia/Pacific regions, BTN calculated year-over-year change percentages against total per diems listed the 2011 Corporate Travel Index, which were compiled in the same manner as this year's data. Those changes were not calculated using constant U.S. dollars; instead, local prices were converted to U.S. dollars using exchange rates from Jan. 12, 2012, and measured against 2011 Corporate Travel Index per diems, which used exchange rates from Jan. 28, 2011.

Hotel/Miscellaneous: Advito provided to BTN average upscale daily hotel rates paid by BCD Travel corporate clients from January to November 2011. For the miscellaneous category, Mercer included the costs of two taxi fares, a newspaper, a bottle of water and a magazine.

Food: Mercer provided to BTN actual January 2012 menu item costs for hotel continental breakfasts; lunches of sandwich, salad and a nonalcoholic drink; and dinners of a fish, chicken or beef entree, salad and a nonalcoholic beverage.

This report originally appeared in the March 19, 2012, edition of Business Travel News. 

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