SpendSmart Travel Trends - Q2 2023

Emburse Data Insights

Our quarterly SpendSmart Travel Trends report provides insight into business travel spend and booking habits.

Spend on car rentals more than doubled in Q2 2023 compared to the year prior; rental durations see a slight drop.

  • Spend on air travel is up 22% domestically and 92% internationally YoY

  • Spend on hotel reservations is up 50% YoY, averaging 4.18 nights per stay

  • Volume metrics see increases across the board, reflecting a continuation of the growth trend reported in Q1 2023

Emburse processes more than $80 billion per year in employee expenses, invoices, and card payments. In each of our SpendSmart reports, we analyze this data to determine trends and patterns across a broad spectrum of business spend categories.

Emburse's quarterly SpendSmart Travel Trends report provides a view into how much organizations spend on travel, as well as trends for booking volume and trip length. This analysis compares travel volume and cost in the Q2 (April, May, June) period from 2019 to 2023, and is based on booking transactions within the U.S. (or originating from, for international air travel). 

Business travelers are feeling the full effects of pandemic-era fleet depletions by car rental companies. Q2 2023 saw the biggest annual increase in spend on car rentals overall (+224%) and per day (+150%) since Emburse began reporting this metric. Car rental companies reduced their fleets during the pandemic lockdown in order to stay afloat. Then the global semiconductor shortage led to inventory challenges for carmakers which increased competition in the car-buying market, including rental car companies trying to re-stock. The pandemic emergency was declared over in May 2023, which started a boom in consumer demand for car rentals. People wanted to travel since it had been so restricted for the past several years, but rental companies have not yet fully replenished their inventory. All this has led to big increases in prices for car rentals, which leaves corporate travel managers making difficult decisions about how to guide their employees for business trip transportation.   

Air Travel

In Q2 2023, domestic flight transactions saw a 30% increase over the same quarter in 2022 and a 12% increase over Q1 2023. Companies also spent 22% more on domestic air travel in Q2 2023 than in Q2 2022 and 14% more than in Q1 2023.

International travel bookings saw an 86% increase over the same quarter of 2022 and an 18% increase from Q1 2023. Similarly, spend on international flights is up 92% over Q2 2022 and 46% over Q1 2023.

Car Rental

In Q1 2023, car rentals for business trips increased by 36% over Q2 2022 and by 25% over Q1 2023. Car rental durations averaged 5.2 days per trip, reflecting a 5% drop over the same quarter last year. 

Despite the drop in duration, spend on car rentals for business trips was up significantly this quarter. In total, companies spent 224% more on car rental booking over Q2 2022 and 172% more over Q1 2023. The average rental was $105.75 per day, which is 150% higher than the same quarter last year and 80% higher than Q1 2023.


In Q2 2023, business travelers averaged 4.18 nights per hotel stay. This reflects a 3% decrease in trip length over the same quarter in 2022 and a 3% decrease in trip length compared to Q1 2023. The number of hotel reservations is up 50% over Q2 2022 and 15% over the previous quarter. 

The average nightly spend on hotels for business trips was $157.01, compared to $152.38 in Q2 2022. Spend on reservations overall was 50% higher than the previous year and 27% higher than Q1 2023. 

We will continue to monitor these figures and report how they evolve quarterly. An infographic for this quarter's SpendSmart Travel Trends report can be downloaded here.


The data in the Emburse Business Travel Index represents 150,000 individual transactions made by travel management companies using Emburse’s expense management platform for business travel expenses. It reflects the months of April, May, and June collectively (Q2) for the years 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022, and 2023. 

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