American Express Global Business Travel released its 2015 pricing outlook last week. In the outlook, Amex forecasts worldwide air, hotel and rental car pricing "to be neutral to slightly higher across all regions," with variance across geographic markets and supplier categories. On tap for the United States are low-to-mid-single-digit percentage increases in each of the three major travel supplier categories. Europe, meanwhile, will see a mix of increases and decreases. Asia pricing should be up, but at a slower growth rate compared with recent years, while Latin America projections range from modest declines to modest gains. Amex cited an "improving economy" and "capacity discipline" by airlines in North America as it projected airfares in the region would rise across the board next year: Short-haul business-class fares are projected to grow year over year between 2 percent and 6 percent, long-haul business class will be up between 1 percent and 4 percent, short-haul economy is projected to increase between 2 percent and 5 percent and long-haul economy should be up no more than 3 percent.
North American hotel rates, meanwhile, are projected to be "buoyed by favorable economic growth, increasing demand, and a lack of new inventory," according to Amex. "After an extended period of relative weakness, hotels are looking to capitalize on favorable market dynamics to increase profitability." In North America, average mid-range hotel rates are expected to increase up to 6 percent year over year, with upper-tier rates up between 3.5 percent and 7 percent from 2014 levels. Car rental base rate growth in North America should be more modest, rising no more than 1 percent, according to Amex, which added that it is "likely that rental companies will work with their customers to keep their corporate rates generally flat next year."
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