TripActions Projects Autumn Surge in Business Travel

Business travel bookings from Sept. 1 through Nov. 19 are trending nearly six times higher than they were this time last year, according to data published by TripActions on Monday.

The data, based on bookings through the TripActions platform and spending with TripActions Liquid, indicate a “seasonal surge in business travel, despite concerns about the macroeconomic environment” for the fall, TripActions said in a blog post. 

Booking and travel spend activity during the week after Labor Day reached a record for TripActions, up 28 percent compared with the previous week, and the company projects travel spend in September will be 30 percent higher than August—which itself was up 27 percent compared with July.

While the total amount spent on air travel is increasing, airfares have begun to moderate, according to the data. TripActions noted that the amount spent on flights in August was up 20 percent compared with July. The average U.S. domestic flight booking price for the month, however, was $416—down 23 precent compared with mid-May and $10 cheaper than the average ticket in August 2019.

Average prices on flights within Europe followed a similar pattern, down 47 percent from the summer peak to $259 at the end of August, according to the data. The average August flight booking price for flights within the European Union was down $10 compared with August 2019. 

Spending on lodging and car rentals also increased 20 percent month over month in August, according to the data.

In addition, TripActions said the data shows growth in internal teams travel as necessitated by a more distributed workforce. By department, engineers now make up 12 percent of business travel bookings, compared with 7 percent prior to the Covid-19 pandemic. Product teams similarly have grown their share from 5 percent to 8 percent. Sales teams still make up the largest portion of travelers, at a 44 percent share as of August.

“Today’s work models are by default global,” TripActions EVP and general manager of travel Nina Herold said in a statement. “How we’ve traditionally thought of road warriors is shifting. Sales are still high priority, but now we’re seeing customers place as much importance on team travel and strengthening culture as we do for sales wins.”

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