Corporate Travel Continues Growth in Q4 Despite Disruptions from Winter Storms and Economic Uncertainty, Emburse SpendSmart Reports

Businesses booked higher volumes and spent more on domestic flights, international flights, car rentals, and hotel reservations in Q4 2022 than in the same quarter in 2021.

LOS ANGELES & PORTLAND, Maine–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Emburse, the global leader in spend optimization, announced today the results of its Q4 2022 SpendSmart Travel Trends report. This quarterly report tracks how much organizations spend on travel, as well as trends for booking volume and trip length, and compares it to the previous year, pre-pandemic 2019, and the previous quarter.

In Q4 2022, business travel measures changed as follows:

  • Volume of domestic flights booked: 84% up from Q4 2021 and 74% up from Q3 2022
  • Amount spent on domestic flights: 80% up from Q4 2021 and 79% up from Q3 2022
  • Volume of international flights booked: 998% up from Q4 2021 and 73% up from Q3 2022
  • Amount spent on international flights: 2,147% up from Q4 2021 and 87% up from Q3 2022
  • Volume of car rentals booked: 73% up from Q4 2021 and 7% down from Q3 2022
  • Amount spent on car rentals: 110% up from Q4 2021 and 4% down from Q3 2022
  • Volume of hotel reservations booked: 89% up from Q4 2021 and 11% up from Q3 2022
  • Amount spent on hotel reservations: 119% up from Q4 2021 and 3% down from Q3 2022

As the final months of the year approached, airline officials anticipated a profitable quarter fueled by business travelers. United Airlines cited hybrid work as a driver of future demand in the company’s Q3 earnings call. Similarly, Delta shared a statement in October naming business travel as an anticipated driver of profitability. According to Emburse’s data, booking volume and spend grew across all modes of travel (domestic flights, international flights, car rentals, and hotel reservations) in Q4 2022 over the same quarter the previous year. Flight booking volume and spend also grew over the previous quarter (Q3 2022), but spend on car and hotel bookings saw slight quarterly drops.

U.S.-based travel was memorable in the final quarter of 2022, since winter storms in November and December disrupted nationwide travel plans over the holidays. Thousands of flights were canceled or delayed, hitting Southwest Airlines’ business operations the hardest. While this primarily affected non-business travel, the fact that air travel saw growth both quarterly and annually despite the disruptions shows just how accurate predictions of profitability came to be.

“The narrative around travel has continued to evolve since the onset of the pandemic, but one thing seems to be true: business trips are playing an important role in the health of the travel industry,” said Eric Friedrichsen, CEO of Emburse. “The data indicate a resurgence in in-person meetings despite less favorable weather and macroeconomic conditions, suggesting that employers continue to see the value in bringing people together. However, we did see slight quarter-on-quarter declines in average domestic air ticket prices, as well as average daily lodging spend. This could suggest that travelers are finding a balance between maintaining travel volumes and effective cost control, by opting for lower cost flights and hotels.”

Emburse plans to continue monitoring these figures and updating them quarterly. The next SpendSmart Travel Trends report will examine Q1 2023 and will be available in April.

About Emburse

Emburse is the global leader in spend optimization. Our expense, travel management, purchasing and accounts payable, and payments solutions are trusted by more than 12 million business professionals, including CFOs, finance teams, and travelers. More than 18,000 organizations in 120 countries, including FORTUNE 100 corporations, high-growth startups, public sector agencies, and nonprofits, count on our intelligent automation, sophisticated analytics, and unmatched spend control to streamline processes, increase spend visibility, enhance compliance, and deliver positive financial outcomes.

Our mission is to humanize work by eliminating manual, time-consuming tasks, so our customers and their teams can focus on what matters most in their personal and professional lives.

For more information on Emburse, visit, or follow our social channels at @Emburse.


The data in the Emburse Business Travel Index represents over 140,000 individual transactions made by travel management companies using Emburse’s expense management platform for business travel expenses. It reflects the months of October, November, and December collectively (Q4) for the years 2019, 2020, 2021, and 2022.


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Firebrand Communications for Emburse


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