China poised to surpass U.S. on business travel spending by 2016

For years Americans have led the world in business travel spending. That is about to change.

With China’s economy surging, business travel spending from the world’s most populous country is expected to jump 14% in 2013 and 17% next year, according to the Global Business Travel Assn., the trade group for corporate travel managers.

China is expected to surpass the U.S. as the world’s largest business travel market by 2016, the trade group says.

About 95% of that business travel traffic will stay in Asia, with trips to South Korea, Singapore and Hong Kong the top destinations. The GBTA estimates that the U.S. will be No. 8 on the list of destinations for Chinese business travelers.

And with the growth in travel from China, Beijing Capital International Airport is expected next year to surpass Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport as the world’s busiest airport.


“As China’s economy continues to grow, so does their expected demand for business travel,” said Tad Fordyce, head of global solutions for Visa Inc.

The demand for air travel from China is expected to grow so fast in the next few years that several of China’s airports have had to double or triple their capacity and the nation plans to build about 100 new airports over the next decade, said Joe Bates, vice president of research at GBTA.

“The real question is can they keep up with the demand,” he said.

Spending on hotel spa services rises 5%, study says

If you plan to pamper yourself with a massage the next time you check into a hotel, you are not alone.

Spending on hotel spa services — such as massages, skin care services and personal training — jumped 5% in 2012 from the previous year, according to a study by PKF Consulting, a consultant to the hotel industry.

By comparison, the sale of food and drinks grew only 2.3% in the same period, according to PKF’s study of revenue from 125 hotels.

The growth in revenue might be spurred by an improving economy that has boosted travel demand, according to hotel industry experts.

Another possible reason for the rise in spa spending could be the resurgent health trend in the U.S. as Americans try to eat well and stay healthy on the road.

At the Omni La Costa Resort & Spa in Carlsbad, spending on spa services has jumped about 20% over the last several years, with Swedish massages coming in as the most popular treatment among guests, said Michelle Frye, director of the resort’s spa.

“People are realizing the importance of these services to stay healthy,” she said.

Hotels that go green gain no booking advantage, study says

Going green may be a hot trend in the hospitality industry, but hotels that earn environmental certificates do not have an advantage when it comes to attracting guests.

The finding comes from a study published recently by Cornell University’s Center for Hospitality Research. The study compared booking revenue at 3,000 eco-certified hotels with 6,000 other properties in North America. Environmental certificates include the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design standards, or LEED, developed by the U.S. Green Building Council.

Although hotels that earn one of several environmental certificates do not gain an advantage in booking guests after promoting the eco-friendly accomplishment, the study showed “green” hotels are not hurt by reducing their carbon footprint.

“In short, green is not a silver bullet strategy,” the report concluded.

Why? The report suggested that going green might attract guests who support such environmental efforts, but other hotel guests might worry that their comfort will be sacrificed at hotels that cut back on resources.