Brisbane: the world's most most expensive city for business travel?

By David Flynn, July 22 2013
Brisbane: the world's most most expensive city for business travel?

Brisbane is the most expensive city in the world for business travellers, with Sydney and Perth also in the top five.

The Aussie trio outstrip London, New York, Paris and Zurich, according to a worldwide report by corporate travel and expense management firm Concur.

With Brisbane "still in the midst of the mining-related construction boom, accommodation costs have contributed significantly to its position at the top of the list" observes Michael Eberhard, Concur executive vice president and general manager APAC.

"These increases are influenced by the influx of Fly In, Fly Out workers to the city, and the growing importance of corporate hospitality to the Queensland economy.”

Concur's Expense IQ report says that Brisbane hotels cost A$331 per night on average, in comparison with A$211 in New York.

However, Melbournians can't afford an indulgent smile: the Victorian capital snared seventh place in the top ten, based on Concur's analysis of more than US$50 billion in its clients' corporate travel and entertainment spend.

"With the Australian dollar continuing to suffer, corporate travellers are having to not only contend with poor exchange rates, but also significantly higher dining and entertainment costs" Concur advises.

Sydney is rated the world's most expensive city for dining, with Concur reporting an average dining spend of $76 per person – that's $22 more than Paris and $19 more than London.

London, Shanghai, Singapore, Beijing and Tokyo remain the world's top destinations outside of the USA for business travellers, with US-bound flyers heading to New York, Las Vegas, Chicago, San Francisco and Houston.

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David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

11 Mar 2012

Total posts 316

Given the exchange rate has dropped recently our cities might slide down the scale a position or two.

19 Jan 2012

Total posts 427

Without doubting for a minute the accuracy of the content an its passing intrugue, it means little until we learn HOW the analysis was performed.

12 Jun 2013

Total posts 733

Like most of the other articles of this type, it's not supposed to convey any useful informatio, it's just intended to get the words "corporate travel and expense management firm Concur" into print. The marketers don't care if the results are rubbish, because the more rubbish it is the more we're going to discuss it. Journalists don't care either, because they've saved themselves the trouble of writing an actual article by regurgitating yet another press release.

At the risk of playing into the marketing department's hands though, this sounds like rubbish. What kind of averaging are you doing if the average Brisbane hotel costs $331 a night? The "average Brisbane hotel" is of course not well defined (in terms of geographic area or the quality expected) but I checked for next Monday and found several perfectly decent hotels for much less-- the Sebel for $150, the Mercure for $95, the Rydges for $167... heck, I only found one hotel (the Marriott) that was advertised for more than the supposed average of $331.

If this is based on their clients' own data, I suggest that there's one Brisbane-based client which is spending up big on some really expensive hotel rooms to inflate that data. But I can tell you that if *I* put in an expense report that stated I'd spent $331 a night for a hotel room in Brisbane I'd have some 'splaining to do, like why I didn't stay in the Mercure for $95 a night.

24 Oct 2010

Total posts 2539

"It's just intended to get the words "corporate travel and expense management firm Concur" into print."

That is absolutely one of the report's aims. Nodoby would doubt that.

"Journalists don't care either, because they've saved themselves the trouble of writing an actual article by regurgitating yet another press release."

Well, I'm naturally gonna beg to differ on that one. :)  From my perspective it's of interest to business travellers and has natural appeal to Australians (especially Brissie folk and visitors!) and is a potential jumping-off point for people to think about and discuss. They may agree or disagree with the findings, or even question the methodology. On the basis I rate it as a report worth sharing, and readers can make up their own mind on how they take it.

19 Jan 2012

Total posts 427

Fine. But surely you had a sneeky peek at the contents before deciding to run the story and give Concur a free kick?!

24 Oct 2010

Total posts 2539

Of course I read the report, in order to determine if it was worth a run in the first place - many of these studies aren't, and are largely self-serving. I have several reports, surveys etc pirtched at me every week - buy you don't see stories on those because, for various reasons, they don't pass the sniff test.

19 Jan 2012

Total posts 427

Choice ! Thanks, David.

24 Oct 2010

Total posts 2539

Which is one reason why we've offered the report as a PDF for download - the last page of the report outlines the methodology. (And yes, some may want a deeper dive into how the data was sliced and diced, but what we're sharing is exactly what we got which is what Concur provided.)

19 Jan 2012

Total posts 427

Thanks for including the link, David.

Whilst superficially interesting the report itself wouldn't stand up to the barest statistical scrutiny.

For example, one table suggests that accommodation spending is about double that of dining for Australia yet this ratio is far from true for all of the Australian citis cited with more detailed data.

For the data to have any meaning, sample sizes or at least relative spend in each country would need to be cited, etc., etc.

The data only holds for those companies using Concur (biased to larger and mroe affluent businesses?).

The suposed aggregate sample ($50b) is very different to the size of Concur's business ($30b) on its website...


...yep, BNE can be pricey when the main hotels price gouge on popular nights as their yield management systems strive for statisphertic pricing - as per the recent State of Origin and Lions events.

...the $330 nights are mainly in a select group of hotels (Marriott, Hilton, Sofitel, Emporium, etc), with plenty of reasonably priced rooms available (avoiding special events).

..OK, folks, do the right thing now and sign up to Concur's services...on the basis of the supplied document you'll be getting very poor levels of analysis for your cash!

25 Feb 2013

Total posts 61

Doesn't surprise me. Australia is a low-value-for-money (i.e. expensive) destination at the best of times, but the lack of hotel capacity in Brisbane makes staying around the CBD prohibitive.

I do wonder if the US figures included the hidden charges over their like city taxes, bed taxes and sales taxes that American hotels refuse to put in their advertised rate. At least there are few hidden extra charges on the room rate in Oz.

On a side note: we've just returned from a trip to Iceland (during their high-price summer). I was surprised at how much the high prices in Australia prepared me for Icelandic prices. In fact, I found prices in Iceland for many things (including booze!) were actually LOWER than I've experienced in Oz. When Iceland makes Australia look expensive you know there are serious issues!

19 Jan 2012

Total posts 427

Yep, with the Icelandic economy!!!


Qantas P1

18 Jan 2012

Total posts 73

Results don't surprise me. I find Brisbane hotels rediculous. Of course, different people have different travel policies. I suspect, many of the Exec. Level employees don't have time to surf forums such as this to provide their two cents worth - thus the feedback from visitors could be skewed.

I travel quite a bit in Asia, EU and Americas and it is no surprise to see Australian Cities in the Top 10! 

A good report from Concur. And I don't use their system or plan to.

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