by Michael J. Shapiro | July 15, 2016

Travel prices should see just marginal increases next year or remain flat, according to the 2017 Global Travel Price Outlook, published by the Global Business Travel Association's GBTA Foundation and Carlson Wagonlit Travel. But the report also names a number of key risks that could significantly affect travel pricing and the global economy: emerging-market performance, financial-market turbulence, geopolitical risks, uncertainty surrounding Brexit, potentially fluctuating U.S. interest rates and oil prices.

"While business travel repeatedly demonstrates its resilience, the high level of global uncertainty we face heading into 2017 means travel buyers have to be more nimble and flexible than ever in crafting travel programs," said Jeanne Liu, GBTA Foundation vice president for research. "For 2017, the key to building successful travel programs will be watching and reacting to an ever-changing global landscape."

Economic growth appears to be relatively low and inconsistent around the globe, added CWT president and CEO Kurt Ekert. "Travelers and travel managers need to understand their travel patterns and spend, and be alert to the impact of economic uncertainty and volatility," he noted.

In terms of meetings, the report calls for modest increases in cost per attendee, per day, in the Asia Pacific and North America regions. Those costs are expected to be flat in Europe, however, and plummet by 10 percent in Latin America. Group sizes, the report added, should remain flat in Latin America but increase by a 3- to 6-percent range in the other regions.

In terms of lodging prices, the effects of the many mergers of hotel companies won't be felt until 2018, according to the report. Most regions around the globe should see very modest increases or decreases in rate. The report calls for a 4 percent rise in prices in North America, but that will be driven largely by West Coast cities such as Seattle; Los Angeles; San Jose, Calif.; and Vancouver, British Columbia, due to high-tech business and a shortage of hotel rooms. On the East Coast, however, there might be very low growth or even a price drop in cities like New York and Toronto, which have an over-supply of rooms.

The report is free and available here.