Domestically, the total cost of a business trip is at a record high of USD1,073 - a four percent increase from Q2 and an eight percent increase from Q3, 2017.
Looking at trip components, the data shows that rising hotel costs are driving this increase. Quarter over quarter, there is a 12 percent increase in the total hotel cost of a business trip, and year over year there is a 16 percent increase. On the international front, hotel costs have also risen (13 percent since Q2 and 27 percent since Q3, 2017 due to an increase in trip length).
In addition to hotel costs, two other factors make up the overall cost of a business trip, airfare and car rental. The US continues a trend of lowering car rental rates, with this quarter hitting a record low car rental trip cost of USD143 (down from a record high of USD165 in Q3, 2017). Airfare is flat from the last quarter, but up six percent from this time in 2017. Outside of the US, car rental rates are more even, with airfares rising three percent from the last quarter.
Travel Leaders Corporate also tracks hotel and car rental prices in the top 25 US cities. The current national average for a one-night hotel stay is USD164. The top 25 markets are nearly evenly split between running above the national average (13 cities) or at or below (12 cities). In the third quarter of 2018, cities in the northern part of the US tended to maintain a higher than average price. Based on past data trends, many southern cities are expected to rebound in hotel prices in Q1 of this year.