The company’s analysis of 15 million corporate hotel bookings showed that there was a 19 per cent fall in international bookings globally during the first quarter of this year compared with the same period of 2023. HotelHub said this decline represented a “stark break” from the gradual recovery seen in overseas business travel since the end of the pandemic.

At the same time, domestic trips are rising as a proportion of all corporate travel - up to 62 per cent in Q1 of 2024 compared with a 52 per cent share of the market a year ago

HotelHub noted that there was particularly strong growth in domestic business travel within Europe during the first quarter, with a 30 per cent rise in its overall share of all trips compared with Q1 of 2023.

The company blamed the continued increase in hotel prices for the downturn in international trips, with average room rates up by an average of 8 per cent year-on-year from $164 to $177 per night, due to “persistent inflationary pressure”.

The HotelHub Index showed that over the past two years average hotel rates in London have gone up by 22 per cent, while prices in Paris have increased by 27 per cent over the same period. As a comparison, rates in New York have risen by 12 per cent since 2022.

The index also found that the average duration for international trips had increased by 5.3 per cent year-on-year from 2.83 days in 2023 to 2.98 days this year, illustrating that business travellers have been “extending trips to accomplish more when they do fly”.

“On the whole, business travel is still growing but there are some concerning trends in this data,” summed up Paul Raymond, director of business development at HotelHub. “A reduction in international trips is often an indicator of overall business confidence and broader spending in the corporate sector.

“The rate of inflation may be falling in some areas of the economy, but in hospitality we’re still seeing significant price increases that many corporate travel departments are finding challenging.”

By Rob Gill