GBTA BTI™ Outlook – United States: 2012 Q4

Statistics & Metrics

original author/publisher GBTA Foundation, Rockport Analytics

Date: January 8, 2013

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About this Resource

Business travel spending growth slowed through the tail end of 2012 as companies postponed critical investment decisions until after the U.S. presidential election and Congressional debate on  the fiscal cliff.  However, the business travel forecast for 2013 should be more positive, provided there is continued easing of economic and political uncertainty - presenting an early indication of greater corporate confidence in spending decisions.  

According to the GBTA BTI™ Outlook - United States 2012 Q4, a report from the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) sponsored by Visa, Inc., U.S. business travel spending is expected to rise 4.6% in 2013 to $266.7 billion, on a slight -1.1% decline in trip volume to 431.8 million person-trips for the year.  The key factors in 2013 business travel spending growth are projected to be:

  • Increasing international outbound travel spending - projected to rise 5.9%
  • Increasing group travel spending - projected to rise 5.2%
  • Very modest price inflation - indicating that companies will be spending more real dollars on business trips.

Spending growth in 2013 should begin modestly, at 2.0% in Q1 and 2.9% in Q2, and then pick up the pace with rates of 6.4% in Q3 and 7.2% in Q4. 

At the close of 2012, annual U.S. business travel spending is estimated by GBTA to have grown 1.6% to $254.9 billion, on a -1.9% decline in trip volume to 436.5 million person-trips.The spending increase was mainly due to rising travel rates. 

  • This increase in spending for 2012 was also a downgrade from GBTA's previous forecast of 2.6% last quarter, reflecting the ongoing uncertainty of the fiscal cliff debate and the economic impact of Superstorm Sandy. 

The GBTA BTI™, a proprietary index of business travel activity, is estimated at 117 for Q4 2012, with no movement from the previous quarter.  Because of slower-than-expected U.S. economic growth, the BTI never reached its pre-recession high of 120 in 2012.  The closest it came was 118 in Q2 2012.

However, the BTI is currently expected to rise steadily through 2013, reaching 119 in Q1 2013 and 125 by the end of the year.

Resource contributor

Paul Yachnes

I am Research Library Manager with GBTA Foundation, responsible for building and maintaining the Digital Resource Library and answering member research and reference questions. If I can help you find research, whitepapers, RFPs, presentations,...