NEW YORK CITY — International airfares in 2006 jumped 5.8%, a higher year-over-year jump than in any of the past seven years, according to American Express research, which also showed domestic airfares hitting a three-year high. Domestic one-way fares averaged $231, more than 7% higher than in 2005. American Express also provided data showing rises, although less dramatic ones, in average hotel and car rental rates.
American Express Advisory Services senior practice leader for air Mitch Cwanger this week said that although capacity constraints, demand growth, and higher fuel prices continue to drive fares higher, corporate travel buyers can mitigate costs through tighter policies, increased online booking, and consolidated spending as well as leveraging long-haul spend to garner short-haul discounts.
Despite high occupancy and limited supply of hotel rooms in key U.S. cities, American Express noted only a 3% year-over-year increase in average domestic booked hotel rates in 2006, a softer increase than those noted by Smith Travel Research, which reported a 7% increase in room rates in its full-year report, released earlier this year.
Average daily car rental rates for business increased by 4.5% from 2005, Amex reported. David Balfour, senior practice leader for car rental, said increasing costs within car rental companies — particularly fleet costs, which had increased as much as 20% — drove the rate increase.
Source: Business Travel News