The Global Business Travel Association's annual convention opened Sunday evening at the Boston Convention Center. According to preliminary estimates, the conference has attracted more than 7,000 attendees, including nearly 1,400 travel buyers, a record for the GBTA convention's 44-year history. On the agenda for the three-day event, which concludes Wednesday evening, are 65 educational sessions and an exposition featuring more than 400 exhibiting companies. Among news released at the show:
• Hipmunk, the travel search site, announced the development of Hipmunk Business Class, a subscription-based service designed to aid those planning, booking and managing other people's travel, including functionality for groups. "We've heard from many travel planners about the agony of planning, booking and managing travel for one person -- let alone for multiple people," said Hipmunk CEO Adam Goldstein. "We developed Hipmunk Business Class to streamline the process and help travel managers simplify communication, minimize toggling between multiple calendars and book directly with suppliers." Upon registering for the service, the first 60 days are free; thereafter it will cost $10 per month for the first year. Hipmunk Business Class currently is in beta test. For details visit hipmunk.com/businessclass.
• Carlson Wagonlit Travel today released its 2013 Travel Price Forecast, indicating that travel costs in most categories are expected to grow modestly around the globe next year, with the largest price increases in the Asia Pacific and Latin America regions. While the economies of the United States and Canada are experiencing slow and steady improvement, no major growth is expected for the foreseeable future, which will help contain price increases in 2013 for most categories of spend. For next year in North America, airline prices are expected to rise 2.8 percent, hotel rates will rise 3.2 percent and car rental prices will decrease by 1.1 percent.