Business travel has long been an integral part of a company’s success, and while the travel industry went through unprecedented challenges over the last several years, traveling for business is now back and stronger than ever.
In the United States (US) alone, roughly 1.3 million business trips happen every single day, and the average business traveler takes an average of 6.8 trips per year. A quick look at key business travel statistics reinforces the sheer volume of corporate travel: In 2021, domestic and international spending on corporate travel totaled $269.3 billion, while in 2022 corporate travelers took 371 million domestic business trips. By 2026, the total number of total trips is expected to surge to 483 million.
In this article, we highlight the top business travel destinations, explore corporate travel trends, and share some hacks to help you make your next trip a little easier.
Where do most business trips take place in the US?
Business travelers traverse the US daily, heading to various cities for work. These standout locations share traits like thriving business hubs, top-notch event venues, convenient transportation, and lively dining and nightlife scenes.
Business travel destinations in the US:
- New York City: As the financial capital of the world, New York City consistently ranks as one of the top business travel destinations. The city’s iconic skyline plays host to countless conferences, meetings, and corporate events, making the Big Apple a hub for business events across a wide range of industries.
- Las Vegas: State-of-the-art conference facilities, a wide range of accommodations, convenient transportation options, loads of entertainment, and a vibrant atmosphere have made Las Vegas the trade show capital of America.
- San Francisco: As a global hub for technology and innovation, along with world-class venture capital firms, a concentration of top-tier conferences and events, and proximity to the startups of Silicon Valley, San Francisco is a corporate travel hotspot.
- Chicago: With its central location, world-class convention facilities, and diverse industries, the Windy City has long held major appeal for business travelers.
- Washington, DC: As the political center of the US, Washington, D.C., is a key destination for government-related business travel and professional gatherings.
- Boston: Its wealth of history aside, Boston stands out as a premier choice for business travelers due to its emphasis on academics and healthcare, coupled with a thriving tech sector.
- Los Angeles (LA): Perfect weather year-round combines with a thriving economy to make LA a consistent hotspot for corporate travelers.
- Seattle: As home to tech giants and a thriving start-up scene, Seattle is a town that people flock to for work-related trips – the availability of great coffee is just an added perk.
- Houston: Pair a robust energy sector and renowned medical and research institutions with Southern hospitality and you get a welcoming environment for business travelers.
- Atlanta: As a major transportation hub with a growing, diverse economy, Atlanta is becoming an increasingly important business travel destination.
- Dallas: Finance, healthcare, and technology – Dallas has it all, making it a major city for business travel.
- Orlando: It’s not just amusement parks that make this central Florida city a draw. With its extensive convention infrastructure and diverse entertainment options, its easy-to-get-to location makes it a magnet for business travelers.
- San Antonio: This Texas city is becoming a leading business hub thanks to its strategic location, diverse economy, modern convention facilities, growing tech sector, and a unique cultural backdrop for meetings and events.
- San Diego: Thriving biotech and healthcare industries, cutting-edge research institutions, a modern convention center, and a consistently pleasant climate have business travelers flocking to this pretty city on the California coast.
The most visited international destinations for business travel
Key global financial centers like London, Paris, Berlin, Frankfurt, Toronto, Dubai, Sydney, Shanghai, and Tokyo have been consistently recognized as premier business destinations. The World Economic Forum further highlights Japan, the US, Spain, France, and Germany as top choices, with China standing out as a significant draw.
But as the world economy evolves, new cities are moving to the forefront. A World Travel and Tourism Council study of 82 major corporate travel destinations forecasts that by 2032, cities in the Middle East and Africa will dominate the list of popular destinations for international business travel, with Singapore and European cities rounding out the top 10:
- Lagos, Nigeria
- Cape Town, South Africa
- Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
- Johannesburg, South Africa
- Amsterdam, Netherlands
- Warsaw, Poland
- Brussels, Belgium
- Stockholm, Sweden
- Zurich, Switzerland
The report also predicts that the Middle East and Asia-Pacific countries will see the biggest jump in business spending by 2032, with Jakarta, Jeddah, Riyadh, Singapore, and Hong Kong leading in growth.
4 business travel trends to look for in 2024
It’s not just trending destinations that are reshaping business travel. Look for these top travel trends to continue to go mainstream as we head into 2024:
- Bleisure travel: Corporate travelers are increasingly blending business and leisure travel, extending their business trips to add on a short vacation before or after meetings.
- Focus on wellness: As wellness becomes a priority for more and more consumers, hotels and airlines are responding with healthier food options and ramped up fitness center amenities in hotels.
- Environmental sustainability: Sustainable travel practices are gaining traction with businesses emphasizing eco-friendly choices for transportation, accommodation, and conferences in their corporate travel policies.
- Turning to tech: As advanced technologies, like artificial intelligence and virtual reality, become more commonplace, look for virtual meetings, AI-powered travel assistance, and contactless solutions to become the norm.
Business travel hacks to make your journey smoother
We’ve curated effective tips to help make your travels seamless while keeping you connected on the road.
- Travel light: Leave the big suitcase at home. Instead, pack a carry-on to avoid time-consuming baggage checks and the potential hassle of lost luggage.
- Download travel apps: There are countless travel apps outs there to streamline your journey. Look for apps that can help you navigate an unfamiliar city, manage your itinerary, and track expenses.
- Enroll in Global Entry and TSA PreCheck: Programs like Global Entry and TSA PreCheck can help you speed through security and customs saving you time at the airport.
- Stay connected with Virtual Private Networks (VPNs): Protect yourself online by using a VPN to access the internet, especially for sensitive business information or communicating with colleagues.
- Learn a few basic phrases: If you’re traveling internationally, learn a few basic phrases – hello, thank you, where is the bathroom? – to help you get around. Even if you’re not fluent in French, Spanish, Mandarin, or the language is spoken in your destination, locals tend to appreciate it if you try to engage in their native tongue.
- Take advantage of tools and solutions: A travel management company (TMC) can help you streamline the complexities of business travel so you can maximize your productivity. You can rely on their tools and solutions to manage your entire trip from planning and boarding your flight to returning home. A TMC has your back every step of the way.
Explore the top business travel destinations of 2024 with American Express Global Business Travel and let us elevate your corporate travel experiences. Contact us now to plan your next trip.