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How Much Will Travel Costs Rise in 2020?

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As you budget for 2020, it’s crucial to take into account projected changes in travel costs. Learn about what those changes are for next year and how you can combat rising expenses.


Worldwide airfares are projected to increase by 1.5%. In the U.S. specifically, we can expect a 1.5% increase on both domestic and international routes.

Combating climbing airfare costs:
Simply enforcing your existing travel policy can help you save. Ensuring that employees book with preferred airlines, adhere to premium class guidelines and follow advance purchase recommendations (which can save up to 15% on airfare costs!) is a good place to start. Work with a travel management company (TMC) who can negotiate elevated status with your preferred airlines to reduce ancillary fees and help you determine if any of your internal mandates need strengthened.

Rental Car Rates

Car rental companies may succeed in pushing a 1-1.5% increase in 2020 as demand continues to rise. This will likely be the case during peak periods when rental companies aren’t able to easily meet demand. Travelers may start to find that their preferred, mid-range options are unavailable during peak times as well, forcing them to upgrade to a pricier selection.

Combating climbing rental car rates: There are many ways to save on rental car rates including reducing preferred suppliers, not purchasing the advance fuel option and refueling before returning the car. A TMC can assist in negotiating rental car fuel and city surcharges, and can help you examine relative costs of alternative modes of ground transportation and travel policy changes. Additionally, if your policy dictates that employees use their personal vehicle, a TMC can help you work through duty of care considerations.

Hotel Rates

Global hotel rates are expected to increase 2-4% in 2020 as a result of rising demand that is outpacing new room supply. In the U.S., we can expect an increase of 2-3.5%.

Combating climbing hotel rates:
Planning well in advance, when availability is at a premium, helps ensure employees receive preferred rates and may allow them to move to lower-priced, lower-tiered hotels for short stays. A TMC can negotiate complimentary amenities, help you create a rate assurance program to ensure negotiated rates and challenge hotels that withhold preferred rates.

Are you ready for 2020? Work with a travel management company to stay ahead of these industry changes and more.

Sources: Business Travel News, The Transnational, Global Business Travel Association (GBTA), ACTE, and Professional Travel, a Direct Travel Company/BCD Affiliate and the IMF

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