U.S. domestic business travel grew in April, according to
the U.S. Travel Association's Travel Trends Index. After tracking below 50 on
the index, indicating year-over-year decline, for 13 months, domestic business
travel measured 51.7 in April, signaling year-over-year growth.
It's a bright spot in an otherwise gray year but expected to
be short lived, according to the USTA. The six-month Leading Travel Index,
which forecasts the likely average pace and direction of travel volume over the
same period the prior year, shows business travel languishing at 49.6. "While forward-looking business travel searches and bookings
are growing, economic prospects for domestic business travel remain muted
through October 2016," according to the report. That means bookings may be
up but overall spending is forecasted to go down.
Like STR's April hotel occupancy report, the USTA
attributed April's TTI numbers to the Easter holiday falling in March, which pushed
a portion of business travel into the following month. The USTA report
anticipated that business travel would "remain a drag on overall domestic
travel growth in the coming months" but would not pull that volume into
The six-month LTI, which includes all inbound
international and domestic travel, both leisure and business, remains modestly
positive at 51.1.