Every year, the trade publication Business Travel News (BTN) conducts a comprehensive study of the total daily costs that road warriors pay in various U.S. and foreign cities. And for the third year in a row, San Francisco took the top honors in the U.S.
Whether it’s an honor is questionable, however: BTN said that in 2015, the City by the Bay remained the most expensive destination in the nation for business travel, with an average daily cost of $547.34 for a hotel room, a rental car and meals. That’s an increase of 7.4 percent from 2014, and it beat out New York ($523.05) and Boston ($502.69), which ranked second and third. Here’s a link to the full results of the study.
BTN said the average amount paid for a San Francisco hotel stay in 2015 was $370.78 per night, including $52.36 in sales tax, occupancy tax and surcharges – an increase of 9.6 percent over 2014. In some cities, the year-over-year increases in average hotel costs paid by business travelers were quite substantial; e.g., BTN said the rate of increase was 22.4 percent in Detroit, 18.2 percent in San Jose, 15.7 percent in Los Angeles, 16 percent in Las Vegas, 14.3 percent in Boston and 14 percent in Seattle.
One of the interesting things about the detailed breakdowns of costs for hotels and rental cars is the fact that the BTN study separates out the level of taxes and fees, which can be incredibly high. For instance, it said that car rentals in San Francisco and Santa Barbara carried taxes and fees that averaged more than 50 percent of the actual rental rate; in some cities (Boston and Little Rock), that figure topped 60 percent.
The study did not examine the posted rates of hotels or rental car companies; instead, it looked at the actual average daily rate paid by business travelers from January through November, collected from a leading global corporate travel agency. Dining prices were gathered through a survey of restaurants in each city.
BTN said that the overall average daily cost for business travel in the top 100 U.S. cities during 2015 rose 3.9 percent over the previous year, to $318.80. It found a different trend overseas, noting that in 13 of the 19 non-U.S. Western Hemisphere cities covered in the study, the average per diem dropped by double digit percentages. And in the 59 cities covered in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, the average per diem dropped from $362 in 2014 to $323 last year.
The most expensive city in Europe, the Middle East and Africa was London, with an average per diem for hotel, rental car and meals of $554.
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