by Michael J. Shapiro | August 22, 2011

Airfare and hotel rates continue to increase, according to American Express Global Business Travel pricing trends released today at the Global Business Travel Association convention in Denver. According to second-quarter data, average domestic one-way airfares rose 5 percent over the first quarter and 8 percent from the second quarter of 2010. International one-way airfares were up 6 percent over the previous quarter and 9 percent year-over-year. Average domestic hotel rates showed modest increases, by 4 percent over the first quarter and 3 percent over the same quarter in 2010, while average international hotel rates shot up more dramatically, by 8 percent over the first quarter and 11 percent year-over-year.

Amex also is seeing good traction in the meetings space, according to senior vice president and general manager Hervé Sedky. "There is still a huge amount of meeting spend that is unmanaged and needs to be managed," he pointed out, calling meetings "one of the last frontiers of unmanaged corporate spend." Earlier this year, Amex globalized its own business meetings operations, consolidating more than 1,000 meeting professionals under the brand American Express Meetings & Events. The company is now working with clients at all levels of meetings management to optimize meetings spend and plans to announce later this year a meetings technology solution specifically for midsized companies.
Amex announced, too, an enhancement to the capabilities for its mobileXtend solution, known as Mobile Communications Management, or MCM. The new technology, which should be rolled out in the fourth quarter of this year, will assist companies in promptly locating travelers and communicating with them instantly. Traveler locations are updated in real time, on a global map display, making communication during times of crisis easier for travel managers and employee security specialists.