The average combined third-quarter 2019 air, car rental and hotel cost for a U.S. domestic trip fell more than 2 percent year over year, driven by lower car rental costs, according to Travel Leaders Corporate’s analysis of client spending data. The average cost of an international trip rose modestly.
“Overall, it is still an excellent pricing environment for business travel,” said Travel Leaders Corporate president Gabe Rizzi. “Companies will find it easy to stay within budget for travel around the U.S. International business travel is more expensive, but we still see robust demand as the economy continues to grow.”
In the third quarter of 2019, the average cost for a U.S. domestic trip was $925, down from $945 in the third quarter of 2018. The average cost for a domestic flight was $414, down 1 percent year over year. Travel Leaders attributed this to more business travelers booking flights greater than 21 days in advance of their departure and more aggressive discounting by many large carriers. Hotel costs stood flat at $383 per trip. The average car rental cost was $128, down 10 percent.
The average cost of a third-quarter international trip was $2,664, up 2.7 percent year over year. Average international air ticket costs rose nearly 4 percent from a year earlier to $1,684. The average hotel cost was $716, up from $677. Average car rental cost was $264, up 8 percent increase from the third quarter of 2018.
“We anticipate a strong environment for corporate travel for the most part, although prices internationally are an area we will be watching closely,” said Rizzi.
Advanced Ticket Purchases in Q3
In the third quarter of 2019, the average cost of a U.S. domestic air ticket booked six days in advance of the day of departure was $509. Twenty-six percent of tickets purchased in advance were in that booking window. In that same period last year, 27 percent were booked in that timeframe.
Twenty-five percent of travelers made reservations between seven and 13 days in advance of the day of departure. That’s the same percentage that booked in the third quarter of 2018. Travelers paid $455 on average for a booking ticket this far in advance.
Seventeen percent made reservations between 14 and 20 days in advance of the day of departure, two percent less than the share in the third quarter of 2018. Travelers paid $404 on average for booking those tickets.
Thirty-two percent made reservations 21 days or more in advance of the day of departure, up two percent year over year. Travelers paid $384 on average for those tickets.