2019’s most expensive cities for business travel
(CNN) — Your business trip might be more basic airport hotel than five-star city center establishment, but wherever you’re staying, being a traveling executive can add up.
Plus, some cities are pricier than others — whether it’s picking up a sandwich on the go or grabbing a bottle of water.
Planning your next conference abroad? Management consultant ECA International has surveyed cities across the globe to work out which will leave travelers struggling to balance the books on the plane home.
New York remains at the top spot — which ECA says is because of pricey hotel rooms — but there’s been a few surprise admissions and re-entries from urban hubs across the world.
2018’s list only included two American cities, with New York taking the top spot and Washington DC coming in at eight.
This year, Washington’s risen up the list to number four — while West Coast cities Los Angeles and San Francisco are new entries, in ninth and seventh place respectively.
“US cities — the dollar’s being doing quite well — have moved towards the top of the list,” says ECA’s benefits and daily rates analyst, Qasim Sarwar. “There’s high demand there.”
Also new on the list for 2019 is Reykjavik, Iceland. It seems Iceland’s capital’s isn’t just pricey for tourists.
Sarwar tells CNN Travel Reykjavik’s ranking is due not only to the high cost of living — but the way tourism and business work together.
“Hotel occupancy rates have been improving [in Reykjavik] with less supply — and demand is high there,” he says. “So hotel prices have increased and that’s a big part of the daily rate allowance.”
ECA’s ranking looks at average hotel prices for a four-star hotel. Other factors taken into consideration include transport, taxis and meals.
“Some of the ones that have dropped out of the top 10 [were ones] we expected, just given the market itself year on year. These cities and locations follow trends,” says Sarwar.
Luanda, in Angola, is one of those spots. In 2018, it appeared at number four on the list. This year, it’s dropped out of the top 10.
“It’s always had an extremely high cost of living [and when it comes to] good-quality, expat-friendly hotels, the price of them has been extremely high. But as the country’s economy stabilizes, the general security risk in the country improves, the hotel prices will drop. More hotels will pop up and then there’ll be a bigger supply and less pressure on the prices to stay high.”
The daily rate for each city was measured by ECA in US dollars. By this ranking, London remains just outside the top 10.
It’s hard to predict how Britain‘s political instability will impact the cost of visiting the city going forward.
“Any time we have a Brexit announcement, the pound normally depreciates,” says Sarwar.
“London might be less attractive for businesses, which means hotel prices might drop here,” he adds.
Swiss cities remain costly, with Geneva taking the number two spot on the list and ranking as Europe’s most expensive city for business travelers.
Balancing the books
Drew Angerer/Getty Images
So what advice would ECA give for business travelers hoping to keep the price down on a trip?
The company recommends looking at daily rate forecasts before the trip:
“That could be a good way of forecasting costs in the future and then making sure they stay down,” says Sarwar — who also suggest avoiding traveling at peak times for tourists, if possible.
ECA’s 10 most expensive locations for business travel
Here’s ECA’s list of the pricest destination for a traveling executive, and the estimated daily rate:
1. New York, USA — $799
2. Geneva, Switzerland — $716
3. Zurich, Switzerland — $661
4. Washington DC, USA — $621
5. Paris, France — $617
6. Reykjavik, Iceland — $615
7. San Francisco, USA — $581
8. Basel, Switzerland — $579
9. Los Angeles, USA — $578
10. Bern, Switzerland — $576