The average fourth-quarter 2015 U.S. domestic airfare dropped 8.3 percent year over year to $363, its lowest fourth-quarter level since 2010 when adjusted for inflation, the U.S. Department of Transportation reported. Domestic fares were higher than their low of $350 during the recession of 2009, but carriers have lost some of the fare gains they have made since then. Fares in the third quarter of 2015, the most recent quarter for which such data are available, accounted for 75 percent of total quarterly revenue, down from 87.6 percent in 1995. Source: Business Travel News
Starwood and Marriott Announce Brand Expansions
Starwood Hotels & Resorts plans to grow its Element Hotels portfolio in North America, opening 22 more hotels under the brand during the next three years, the company announced. Marriott International last month opened its first U.S. property under the Delta Hotels and Resorts brand in Orlando. Source: BTN
In 2015, business travelers spent $1 billion more in China, $291.2 billion, than in the United States, $290.2 billion, making China the biggest business travel market, according to the Global Business Travel Association. All but 5 percent of China’s business travel volume is domestic. GBTA also forecasted that business travel spending in China will grow to $320.7 billion in 2016; that’s 10.1 percent growth compared with the United States’ 1.9 percent. Source: BTN
Uber & Lyft Increase Share of Expense Transactions in Q1
Ridesharing services accounted for 46 percent of ground transportation transactions processed by expense management supplier Certify during the first quarter. The services—Uber, primarily—continually have gained ground on taxis in Certify’s quarterly reports over the past two years. Source: BTN
Where travel managers have been able to drive compliance with rules and mandates, they increasingly grapple with traveler discontent in terms of program efficiency, quality of the tools and the overall experience of travel within the confines of their programs. Can attention to traveler happiness pull managed travelers back into the fold? If so, how will travel managers re-engineer their programs—and the industry—and do corporations win or lose in the value equation? BTN’s Traveler Happiness Index starts to answer these questions.