GBTA Forecast: Expect Higher Hotel, Flight Prices in 2019

A new forecast from the Global Business Travel Association and Carlson Wagonlit Travel finds that a buoyant economy is likely to lead to increased prices in 2019 both globally and in North America, though the political climate could prove a wild card.

The strength of the global economy could mean it might be a little harder to get a deal on your business travel going into 2019.

A recent forecast from the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) and Carlson Wagonlit Travel finds the two firms projecting global increases in the cost of air travel, hotel rooms, and even car rentals next year.

“Prices are expected to spike in many global markets even as inflation remains subdued,” CWT President and CEO Kurt Ekert said in a news release.

The report notes that globally, the economy is expected to grow by 3.4 percent in 2019, matching the growth rate for 2018, with some regions seeing more growth than others. With growth being driven by Asia, Europe, and North America, the report anticipates hotel prices going up by 3.7 percent and flights increasing by 2.6 percent in 2019.

In North America, the report projects airfare price increases of 1.8 percent, hotel price increases of 2.1 percent, and ground transportation increases of 0.6 percent. GBTA Executive Director and COO Michael W. McCormick warns, however, that the current global political market could create hiccups in the coming year.

“While most major markets appear to be trending in the right direction, downside risks remain for the global economy given the rise of protectionist policies, the risk of stoking trade wars and Brexit uncertainty,” McCormick stated in the release.

Among the factors that could change the dynamic of air travel in 2019, according to the forecast:  increasing oil prices, a shortage of pilots, a potential trade war, and the return of ultra-long-haul flights of 17 hours or longer. The report also gives a nod to International Air Transport Association’s New Distribution Capability program, which is leading to significant advancements in booking technology.

In addition, the report notes that the changes in air travel will have an impact on the hotel industry, by increasing the number of travelers flying to different locations. The other major factor driving the hotel industry, however, is mobile technology.

“All sectors of the travel industry are now investing heavily in mobile-friendly websites or apps to cater to their guests’ needs and requirements,” the report states.

The report’s projections are based on transaction data from CWT and historical statistical projections from GBTA, among other sources.

(NicoElNino/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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