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 NEW YORK, Nov. 30 /PRNewswire/ -- How well is Corporate America controlling its travel and entertainment (T&E) spending? Until now, measuring a company's average trip costs against a standard for business travel was a major research project. Debuting this month, the American Express(R) Business Travel Review -- a quarterly analysis of benchmarks for airfare, hotel, car rental and meal spending -- provides companies with a simple measuring stick.
 Combining information form its Corporate Card and travel client databases, American Express has the unique ability to provide benchmarks that reflect actual spending by a representative sampling of U.S. corporations. Averages are a composite of typical spending by companies of all sizes, industries, corporate cultures and geographic regions. Managers can use this information as a reliable reference point to determine whether their T&E spending is higher or lower than national averages.
 "We have always consulted one-on-one with clients to help them measure their progress in controlling T&E spending," noted James Yasinski, senior vice president, product management marketing, Travel Management services. "While this consulting will continue, the Business Travel Review provides a do-it-yourself tool as a starting point for the benchmarking process."
 The Business Travel Review gleans national and international averages for airfare, hotel and car rental rates from a combination of published and negotiated rates in the American Express travel client database and actual spending from the Corporate Card database. Industry analysts and consultants provide timely commentary on trends travel managers need to know before engaging in vendor negotiations. It also breaks out average meal and hotel spending guidelines for 22 U.S. and 17 international cities.
 "It's the first comprehensive benchmarking document of its kind," said Yasinski. "Because of their constant contact with clients and travel suppliers, our Consulting Services and Industry Relations professionals are uniquely positioned to interpret the raw data and present it as actionable information."
 Ken findings of the third quarter '93 American Express(R) Business Travel Review follow:
 -- Average fare paid (U.S., one-way): $250, down from a high $282 in Q1, but up 14 percent over Q3 '92. This reflects a return to corporate discounting by U.S. airlines since the beginning of the year, but a substantial increase over the record-low average prices during the "fare war" of 1992.
 -- Use of discounted tickets: Nearly 80% of all U.S. business travel is at a published or negotiated discount off full coach.
 -- International fares have remained flat: The average international one-way fare paid was $740, just slightly higher than the full economy-class one-way published fare average of $705.
 -- Nearly half of international tickets are in discount economy: 19 percent of international tickets in Q3 '93 were booked in full economy class, while only 27% were in business class and 7% in first.
 -- Average international hotel rates dropped from $153 to $138: Domestic booked rates remained basically flat at $87.
 -- Average daily car rental rates are $3 lower than last year: $43 was the average rate paid under U.S. corporate contracts. 57% percent of rentals were intermediate size, only 19% were full-size and 7% were luxury. Eighteen percent of renters settled for compact or smaller cars.
 Many of the most effective strategies are developed in the working relationships between American Express' Consulting Services Group and clients, Yasinski noted. American Express grew to be the world's largest corporate travel agency and charge card issuer by demonstrating to customers how much it can help them save on travel.
 Consequently, the Consulting Services Group, which helps clients analyze and improve policies and procedures, and the Industry Relations Group, which helps clients negotiate lower rates with vendors, play a crucial role in client servicing. these two groups of analysts collaborated in producing the American Express(R) Business Travel Review, which debuted today with third-quarter 1993 data.
 It will be sent to clients and their American Express representatives accompanied by an easy-to-follow worksheet to help them compare their air spending data to national averages in terms of cost- per-mile. A math review booklet is included to help those who don't crunch numbers for a living.
 The American Express Business Travel Review is a copyrighted publication of American Express Travel Management Services, which assists companies in managing and controlling their business travel expenses. It is a unit of American Express Travel Related Services Company, a wholly owned subsidiary of the American Express Company, a family of travel, financial and communications businesses.
 For a copy of the American Express Business Travel Review, contact American Express at 212-640-5060.
 -0- 11/30/93
 /CONTACT: Melissa Abernathy of American Express, 212-640-5060/

CO: American Express Travel Related Services ST: New York IN: FIN SU:

MP-WB -- NY090 -- 8862 11/30/93 15:43 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Nov 30, 1993

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