Overall spending on business class airline tickets increased by 32% in Q4 2010, compared to a 1% decrease in first class tickets and a very slight 1% increase for economy ticket, according to new data from American Express Business Insights. Spending on business class also increased by 21% in spend per flight and 2% in flights per traveler.
The number of total travelers buying business class tickets increased 8%, while the number of travelers spending on first class and economy tickets decreased by 12% and 10%, respectively.
Businesses Rent More Cars, Consumers Fewer
Small and large businesses led road travel with respective year-over-year car rental increases of 3% and 2% in Q4 2010. At the same time, average consumers decreased car rentals by 1% and affluent consumers decreased spend in this category by 4%.
Spend per car rental remained fairly static, as consumers spent 1% less per rental, and businesses spent the same per rental in Q4 2010. Overall, American Express data shows that November 2010 showed the largest growth for car travel during the quarter, with increases of 3% by consumers and 4% for businesses.
Small businesses specifically increased car rental spending by 5% in a frequency of three or more trips per quarter, while affluent consumers decreased care rental spending by 6% in frequent car rentals (three or more trips per quarter).
Cruise Spending Steady as She Goes
Both affluent and average consumers’ cruise spending remained unchanged year-over-year in Q4 2010, while small businesses decreased spend by 1%. Large businesses increased spending by 4%, leading this category.
American Express analysis indicates that as spending by individual consumers remained flat in this category, cruises per traveler decreased for average and affluent consumers by 3% and 6%, respectively. However, at least partially mitigating this was the fact spend per cruise was up across the board, ranging from 1% for small businesses, 6% for average consumers, and 9% for both affluent consumers and large businesses.
Airfare Rises, Hotel Rates Stay Flat
Domestic and international airfare both jumped 7% in 2010 compared to 2009, according to other recent data from American Express Global Business Travel. Meanwhile, domestic hotel rates stayed flat and international hotel rates slightly decreased.