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Traveling for business takes many forms, whether for a conference, a sales meeting or dealing with a project on the ground. The Global Business Travel Association (GBTA), in conjunction with Rockport Analytics and InterContinental Hotels Group, released a report that found project-based travelers spend more on trips than traditional corporate travelers.
More than 1,700 U.S. project-based business travelers were polled on their behavior and spending on trips in 2017 for the “Project-Based Business Travel in the United States” report. Project-based travel accounted for 12% of U.S. business trips in 2017, and travelers spent more on each trip ($679) than the average business traveler does ($533). The report found that a project-based trip lasts an average of 5.5 days compared to 3.8 days for a typical business trip.
Los Angeles, New York, Las Vegas, Chicago, and the San Francisco area are the top five markets for project-based business travel, according to the research.
Manufacturing is the highest spending industry for project-based travel, followed by real estate and professional, scientific, and technical activities. Construction, however, accounted for 29% of total trips for projects. The demand for these trips is expected to rise in the coming years, as these sectors experience modest growth and the U.S. economy chugs along.
Employees traveling for projects behave like the average business traveler in general, although a few key differences emerged from the research. While most trips took place in cities, 36% of project-based trips took place in suburbs or rural areas (compared to 30% for traditional business trips). In general, workers travel longer distances for projects than they do for other kinds of business travel and 52% noted that trips were taken on a recurring basis.
Project-based business travel spending reached $45.4 billion in 2017, making up 15% of all U.S. business travel spending, according to the study. Travelers took a total of 66 million trips last year for project-based purposes, representing 12% of all U.S. business trips and 19% of all U.S. business trips taken for transient purposes.
Project-based business travelers spent $15.9 billion on lodging, $14.6 billion on air transportation, $7 billion on food & beverage, $1.8 billion on entertainment, $4.2 billion on ground transportation and $1.9 billion on retail.
Source: Skift, Hotel Management