PORTLAND, Ore. (TheStreet) — Business travel hasn't quite recovered from the recession, if the latest round of expense reports are any indication.
Redmond, Wash.-based travel and expense management company Concur looked over data recently from 15 million of its business travel users and found 500 million expensed items that added up to $50 billion in travel spending last year alone, despite some bumps: Average U.S. spending on business airfare that jumped 6.6% in 2012 dropped 8.2% a year later, and spending on hotel rooms that jumped 4.15% in 2011 slumped back nearly 4% the following year. Those two categories alone account more than a third of all business travel expenditures.
Travel costs are much greater for small businesses — 24% greater — because big businesses can negotiate better rates with hotel chains, negotiate volume pricing with car rental companies and basically throw a lot more weight around.
Concur finds that the cost of entertainment and vehicle rental for small businesses is a whopping 57% and 75% higher, respectively. Small businesses are taking more trips, paying for more events and renting more vehicles per quarter than the big guys, and it's putting them at a big financial disadvantage.
While Superstorm Sandy and the fiscal cliff negotiations weren't helping costs when Concur put together its survey, it's clear that some costs jumped nationwide. In certain cities, it claimed far more of companies' travel expenses than it others. With help from Concur and the data it's gathered on such things as average meal costs and the expense of getting into town from the airport, we found the 10 most expensive destinations for business travelers and their expense reports:
10. Santa Clara, Calif.
Average travel spending minus airfare and car rental: $331
Silicon Valley has one of the cheapest meal expenses on this list at $35 but charges a garish $50 on average to get a ride from the airport. Unfortunately, if you do face-to-face business with Apple to get your company's product integrated into the next iProduct, you have to go to Santa Clara and hike it over to Cupertino. You can still fly into San Francisco, but it'll cost a business about 25% more in travel costs to make the trip. Meanwhile, Intel, Google, Oracle and other tech heavy hitters have no problem being parked in the middle of the valley, forgoing the nightlife in San Francisco for a bit by being in Santa Clara. Yes, lots of young valley professionals still take their freshly lined pockets up to San Francisco condos when the workday's over, but even the San Francisco 49ers can see where the base is shifting. The team calls Santa Clara home starting this year and has opened the corporate suites at its new Levi's Stadium for business.