Business travel prices close to pre-recession levels
In the latest sign that business travel is on the rebound, the report by the corporate travel arm of American Express found that domestic airfares are up 6% for the third quarter of 2010, compared to the same period last year. Domestic hotel rates are up 3% and international airfares are up 8% over the same time last year, the report said.
For example, in the third quarter of 2007, the average domestic airfare ticket was $231, according to the report. It dropped to $215 in 2009 but has rebounded to $228 in the third quarter of 2010.
The American Express study also reported that hotel rates jumped the highest over the same time last year in New York City (10%), New Orleans (5%), Washington, D.C. (5%), Las Vegas (4%) and San Francisco (4%).
Most experts say business travel spending began to plummet in September 2008 when a subsidiary of insurance giant American International Group held a pricey retreat at the five-star St. Regis Monarch Beach Resort and Spa in Dana Point after AIG got an $85-billion bailout from the Federal Reserve. The ensuing uproar created what has been called the "AIG effect," prompting businesses to scale back business travel spending.
-- Hugo Martin
Photo: Guests check into the Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles. Credit: Los Angeles Times