Rosy Outlook for U.S Business Travel in 2014 and Beyond
According to the latest forecast by the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA), U.S. business travel is expected to rise by 7.1% in 2014 to $293 billion. The new higher forecasted growth is driven in large part by healthy corporate profits, rising management confidence and increased job development – a continued positive sign for the U.S. economy. Furthermore, the record-breaking winter where the effects of the polar vortex and back-to-back snowstorms halted travel across much of the continental U.S., did not halt the growth momentum of the business travel and, according to Michael W. McCormick (COO of GBTA), “businesses are feeling more confident with pent-up demand to get their employees back on the road. Business travel growth is a leading indicator of job growth and we have seen this play out in previous quarters as the private sector has finally regained all of the jobs lost during the recession.”
The main areas of U.S. business travel growth include:
- International outbound business travel spending is now expected to increase by 13% to $37.2 billion compared to 2013
- Group travel is forecasted to increase by 7% to $126 billion compared to 2013
Orlando’s Orange County Convention Center expects to see more than 1 million visitors in 2014, albeit on 6 fewer convention trade shows. The increase in attendance is driven by higher per-show average attendance numbers. Some of 2014 largest conferences include Health Information Medical Management Society; which drew 38,000 attendees in February. In March, MEGACON drew 70,000 attendees and generated a $10 million in economic impact thru hotel stays, restaurants, group transportation, and car service spend. On Demand Chauffeur transportation company is, consequently, experiencing an increased demand for group and Meeting & Events transportation services of 25% in the first half of 2014. Furthermore, a higher percentage of conference attendees are extending their Orlando business stays to enjoy Central Florida’s main attractions such as Walt Disney World, Universal Studios Orlando, and even cruise ships thru Port Canaveral.