International hospitality from Iceland to Bosnia
This year’s American Express Business Travel Forecast, an annual report that predicts global travel pricing trends for business, finds a world split in two for 2012.
While airfare, hotel and car rental rates in North America and Europe should only increase modestly in 2012, those travelling to, from or within the burgeoning economies of Latin American or Asia-Pacific regions could be paying up to 10% more next year, according to the report.
Due to a drop in demand caused by economic uncertainty, the report predicts economy class airfare in North America, Europe, the Middle East and Africa should increase by less than 5% in 2012. But business class fares could increase by nearly 7%, as companies are still willing to invest in sending employees on long-haul overseas flights to capitalize on growth opportunities in emerging markets.
Rates at mid- and upper-range hotels in North America, Europe, the Middle East and Africa should increase by 5% to 6% at most, especially in large metropolitan areas. On the other hand, hotel rates will likely decline in countries like Greece and Spain, which are experiencing particularly challenging economic conditions. (Not such great news for Greece and Spain, but the dip in prices presents an opportunity for bargain-seeking travellers.)
Even better, due to more competition and excess capacity in the North American car rental industry, American Express expects rates to remain unchanged in 2012.
Continuing consolidation among airlines in Latin America, combined with increasing demand, will drive increases in economy fares over 5% and business class fares could increase by nearly 10%. Average increases in hotel rates in the region should top out at around 6%, with occupancy and prices rising most in Buenos Aires, Mexico City, Santiago and Rio de Janeiro.
Similarly, economy and business class airfares in the Asia-Pacific region should increase by as much as 10% in 2012, and that’s on top of the big price increases travellers have already endured in 2011, as compared to 2010. Hotel rates in the region should increase by 6% to 10%; however cities such as Shanghai, which may have built too many new hotels too fast, should see lower rates as a result.
Where do you want to travel in 2012? Please leave your comments on our Facebook page.
Chris McGinnis is the business travel columnist for BBC Travel