Study: Average Business Trip Cost Will Increase in 2020

BOSTON—Business travel costs have increased steadily in recent years and will continue in 2020.

The study, “2019 Cost of Business Travel Report,” released by Runzheimer, a relocation and living costs intelligence solution, powered by Motus, helps organizations and professionals understand the expenses associated with business travel across the U.S.

The report revealed that business travel costs have increased steadily in recent years and predicts that this trend will continue in 2020. Specifically, hotel prices are likely to jump 2-3%, airfare is anticipated to increase between 0.5-1% and ground transportation is expected to rise 2%.

Motus found that the average business trip costs $1,293. Although many people think of airfare as the most expensive part of a typical business trip, it only makes up 34% of the cost. Lodging (28%), meals (19%) and ground transportation (18%) combine to make up the majority of a business traveler’s expenses today.

“Travel is one of the most difficult expense categories to control,” said Ken Robinson, market research analyst, Motus. “By understanding the costs of business travel in detail, organizations can gain deeper insight into their T&E expenses. These insights can be extremely valuable to a wide range of professionals. For example, finance professionals can forecast more accurate travel budgets, event planners can understand the true costs of the locations they choose and government officials can make sure that their cities are competitive destinations to attract business travelers.”

The report also revealed location-specific insights for business travelers and their organizations to keep in mind as they plan business travel, as high cost areas can range as much as 55% higher than the U.S. average, due to price variations related to lodging, meals, airfare and ground transportation.

The top ten most expensive states for business travel, ranked from most to least expensive:

  1. Hawaii
  2. Massachusetts
  3. California
  4. Vermont
  5. Washington
  6. Rhode Island
  7. New Jersey
  8. New Hampshire
  9. Connecticut
  10. New York

The cities of New York, Boston, San Francisco, Seattle and San Jose are the top five most expensive cities to travel to, in order. These cities are likely to cost up to 55% more than the average destination when compared to cities such as Denver and Cleveland. Many of these cities are expensive for business travel because of high hotel costs, but other costs can make a trip pricey. For example, New York City has higher meal and hotel costs, but below average car rental costs. Boston has above-average costs in all categories.