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U.S. Election Affects Lowered Business Travel

Dorathy Gass

It’s been an election unlike any other, as people in the United States head towards an uncertain future post-November 8th. Will the American public vote for The Donald or Hillary? According to the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) Foundation’s (this is the GBTA’s research and education division) recent business travel forecast report, this uncertainty combined with low inflation, a decrease in global expansion, as well as lowered investment has negatively affected business travel and spending growth.

Per the GBTA BTI forecast for the U.S. in Q3 2016, the overall volume when it comes to business travel across the nation is supposed to increase by one percent in 2016, while spending is said to decrease by 0.6 percent.

By the time 2017 hits, the organization predicts that spending will rise by 3.8 percent and reach $293.1 billion; which will be due to price inflation. The forecast also indicates three macro-drivers of business travel that will keep providing uncertainty and negative results.

These include: business confidence (overall they continue to be weak, with a lack of enthusiasm when it comes to near-term outlook); company profits, which continue to fall and cause corporations to remain tight with expense budgets, with little spending, and constraints around business travel for the remainder of the year; as well as international trading. With the strong currency, along with feebleness within key trading partners in the United States, there will be a continued fatigue around the performance around exports when it comes to trading worldwide.
While the U.S. may experience better results in the economy come 2017, these will still be modest for the year with an expected GDP growth of 2.4 percent.

Travel Week advised that Executive Director and COO of GBTA, Michael W. McCormick explains, companies are hiring and offering improved wages, but spending around business travel stalled; which is something that rarely happens. He notes that the continued global uncertainty combined with the uncertainty around this U.S. presidential election is resulting in many corporations remaining in a holding pattern, and staying quite cautious in this time. He goes on to state that this creates a question around whether these businesses will be ready for growth, when it starts to increase.

He notes that companies need to be prepared for business growth with up-to-date technologies, a productive workforce, and important client relationships in order to bounce at the opportunity.
Here’s hoping that who ever wins this historical U.S. election will provide the needed vision and leadership that will keep the U.S. economy in an upswing. Time will only tell.