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Business Travelers Spend a Lot in Dallas Per Day, Especially on Rental Cars

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Been spending the morning reading Business Travel News Magazine; shouldn't have let that subscription to LAUNCHPAD lapse. But you, Mr. and Mrs. Accounts Payable, we do this for you too.

And according to the latest issue of BTN, which, sadly, isn't online yet, Dallas is a pretty average town, dough-re-mi-wise, for the business traveler: It comes in at No. 24 on the list of most expensive U.S. cities for the suit set, samiched between Kansas City, Missouri, and New Orleans. In Dallas, the average "on-the-ground" -- which is to say, hotel, car, and food -- travel cost is $339; chart-topper NYC comes in at $570, followed by Washington, D.C. ($465), Boston ($410), Chicago ($408) and...um...White Plains, N.Y. ($405). In Dallas, that breaks down to $153 on hotel, $109 for a rental car and $76 for food.

If you really want to know how BTN compiled this info, that's after the jump. You know you want to. Do it already. --Robert Wilonsky

Can't believe you jumped. But since you did, this is how the data was compiled. Oh, and here's a link to a disturbing rock-and-roll rumor. Just for you. And, of course, you know AP stands for "accounts payable," right? Doesn't it?

AP managers can apply these benchmarks with more objectivity to spending practices at their own companies if they recognize the methodology BTN used to develop the costs. Specifically:

Hotel: To develop this year's hotel rates, BTN worked with the Advito consulting unit of BCD Travel, which generates data on negotiated corporate hotel prices. For the 100 cities in this survey, the data reflects average rates negotiated by BCD clients for midprice hotels, both with and without food and beverage. The data also incorporates an average of upscale and upper upscale hotels. BTN averaged these figures to produce the hotel rates in the accompanying table.

Meals: The food and beverage benchmarks in our table reflect the following specific meals: breakfast--two eggs with breakfast meat, toast, orange juice, and coffee; lunch--soup, hamburger or chicken sandwich, pie, and soft drink; and dinner--soup, strip steak, ice cream, coffee, and cocktail. Detail: Meal costs reflect a 15% gratuity, but no sales tax, in November 2006 at 800 family-style, casual, and fine-dining restaurants. The data also incorporates costs at 100 additional restaurants that BTN editors identified as late as February 2007.

Rental cars: To develop car rates, BCD Travel pulled rates on three midweek days in October 2006 from the Sable distribution system. The rates apply to one-day rentals of midsize and full-size cars at major car rental companies and incorporate all local taxes and fees. BTN averaged the full-size and midsize prices over these three days and then averaged the prices for the two categories to arrive at a final daily average cost for car rentals.

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