Corporate travel budgets gain altitude on economic outlooks and confidence


4 June 2024­ – Q1-2024 business travel has seen gradual consistent growth in trips, which is forecast to continue into Q2-2024, according to FCM Consulting’s latest Global Quarterly Trend Report*.

The report showed that on average, globally, ticket prices in economy were 11 per cent above the same month in 2019 prior to the pandemic. But encouragingly, flight costs in the same class had dropped 16 per cent when compared to January 2021.

APAC Director of FCM Consulting Felicity Burke said that pricing for travel remained strong as demand incrementally grows in 2024.

“Global Inflation is estimated to be at 5.9 per cent^ in 2024, unemployment rates are trending lower, and consumer confidence is returning once again,” Ms Burke said.

“Generally, the global economy has been resilient against increases in interest rates, and with the economic outlook being somewhat positive for the remaining year, corporate budgets are increasing with confidence and enabling steady business travel trends.

“Pricing will remain strong in most locations as demand grows throughout the year, but it needs to be kept in mind that several geopolitical conflicts will continue to bring a level of uncertainty to the global economy.”

Ms Burke said the report highlighted that stable booking volumes in Q1-2024 meant that corporate travel demand remained steady and there was now less guesswork for the industry (airlines, hotels, and car hire) regarding that demand – they could now rely on consistent volumes.

“Travellers continue to tightly manage budgets for the remainder of the year with early bookings and more days away. The average advanced booking days have increased to 23.3 and the average days away have also lifted to 4.4 – unsurprising, given the continued business ‘bleisure’ trend,” she said.

“Monthly seats offered from May to December 2024 have been forecasted to an average of +3.6 per cent (+17.8M) above 2019 monthly averages, with 2024 scheduling continuing to signal supply confidence across five of the seven global regions.

“The forecast for seats offered across top corporate global airlines in 2024 is set to be six per cent above 2019, with the number of flights offered down one per cent – top corporate airlines globally show that low-cost carriers (LCC) are also performing well.

“Interestingly, LLCs will represent 31 per cent of global seats offered in 2024. That is a one per cent increase versus 2019 – with 28 per cent of all flights offered also being on an LCC carrier, again a rise of one per cent.” 

*The FCM Consulting quarterly trend report draws on global data sourced from FCM Travel and Flight Centre Travel Group corporate booking data for travel from January to March 2024 (Q1-2024). The report uses Cirium aviation schedule data as at 16 April 2024. Airfare pricing variations exclude all taxes.

The hotel Average Room Rate (ARR) quoted is the average booked rate using FCM Travel and Flight Centre Travel Group corporate booking data. Variations in rates booked are a reflection of seasonality, supply, and demand, booking lead times and variations in exchange rates. Unless otherwise stated all fares and rates are reported in US dollars. STR hotel data and content quoted as at April 2024 for period ending March 2024. GDS Best Available Hotel Rates are priced during April 2024 for May 2024 bookings.

^International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outcome, 16 April 2024.

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