Project-based business travel spending reached $45.4 billion in 2017, making up 15 percent of all U.S. business travel spending, according to a study from the Global Business Travel Association in partnership with InterContinental Hotels Group.
Travelers took a total of 66 million trips last year for project-based purposes, representing 12 percent of all U.S. business trips and 19 percent of all U.S. business trips taken for transient purposes. “Demand for project-based business travel will continue to rise with top project-intense sectors forecasted to grow faster than the broader economy in the coming years,” Michael W. McCormick, GBTA executive director and COO, said in a statement. “While project-based business travel is extremely diverse, there are key underlying trends revealed in this study that marketers, suppliers and travel buyers can use to increase revenue, cut costs and improve traveler satisfaction.”
“Based upon the learnings from this study, the industry has an opportunity to develop more effective strategies to engage this segment of travelers to best serve their unique needs moving forward,” Derek DeCross, SVP of global sales at IHG, said in a statement.
The average spend per business trip was significantly higher for trips taken for project-based purposes at $679 than for other business trips, which totaled $533, taken over the same period. Longer average stays along with higher trip budgets drove the uptick in spending. Project-based business travelers spent $15.9 billion on lodging, $14.6 billion on air transportation, $7.0 billion on food & beverage, $1.8 billion on entertainment, $4.2 billion on ground transportation and $1.9 billion on retail.
Project-based business travel spans the U.S.
The top project-based business travel markets in the U.S. are Los Angeles with seven percent of all trips and New York with five percent of trips. Meanwhile, project-based business travel in Las Vegas, Chicago and San Francisco accounts for four percent of each market. A handful of states have a higher proportion of project-based business travel relative to all business travel activity.
Project travel in this industry accounts for 20 percent of total business travel spending.