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London Ranked 10th Most Expensive Location in The World For Business Trips

London Ranked 10th Most Expensive Location in The World For Business Trips
23 April 2019 James Brooke
  • Central London sixth most expensive business travel location in Europe
  • Edinburgh has seen the biggest increase in UK with a typical business trip now costing GBP 320 a day
  • Business trips in Dublin now exceed the cost of Edinburgh, costing GBP 322/EUR 358 a day
  • Most expensive European city is Geneva, costing GBP 553 a day

London is the tenth most expensive city in the world for business trips according to research by global mobility experts, ECA International (ECA). On average, the total cost of a typical business trip in Central London now costs GBP 444 (USD 574) a day, with the average price of a four-star hotel stay costing GBP 251 (USD 324) a night.

“London business travel has weathered the Brexit uncertainty thus far and it remains one of the busiest business hubs in the world. In part this is because demand has been boosted by the fall in the value of the pound after the Brexit vote in 2016, making the UK more affordable for international visitors,” said Steven Kilfedder, Production Manager at ECA International.

Edinburgh has seen the biggest price increase in the UK for business travel, with a typical trip now costing GBP 320, up GBP 13 on last year’s report. Hotel costs in Edinburgh are particularly high and account for almost half the total of a typical business trip, costing GBP 167 a night in a four-star hotel. This is at least GBP 25 more than any other UK city outside of London.

Updated annually, ECA’s Daily Rates report reviews the average costs for hotel accommodation – which makes up the bulk of any daily allowance – as well as meals, drinks, laundry, taxi journeys and daily essentials. This information is used by companies to determine daily expense allowances for staff undertaking international business travel.

UK business trip daily costs

RankingCity Average price of a business trip per day (GBP)Average price of a 4* hotel per night (GBP)
1Central London444251

Hotels in Dublin now more expensive than Madrid and Berlin

The price of hotels in Dublin has increased significantly in the past year, now costing GBP 151 (EUR 168) a night on average for a four-star hotel. Dublin hotel costs have overtaken other European capitals such as Berlin (GBP 146, EUR 163 per night) and Madrid (GBP 149, EUR 166 per night).

The overall cost of a business trip to Dublin now exceeds that of Edinburgh despite a night’s stay costing GBP 16 more per night in the Scottish capital. Other expenses in Dublin that increase the total include an additional GBP 15 a day on meals and drinks compared to the Scottish capital.

“Dublin is a popular city for both business and leisure despite increasing demand triggering an increase in hotel costs. A large number of financial services firms have moved staff and operations to the Irish capital from the UK since Brexit negotiations began, exacerbating the rising costs of business travel in the city,” said Kilfedder.

Business travel in Switzerland still most expensive in Europe

Swiss cities dominate the top ten costliest locations in Europe for business travel with Geneva leading the rankings ahead of Zurich (2nd), Basel (5th) and Bern (6th). Hotels in Switzerland are also the most expensive on the continent with a four-star Geneva hotel costing GBP 292 a night on average, GBP 41 more expensive than London.

Scandinavian cities among the most expensive

Scandinavian cities continue to be some of the priciest in Europe for business travel, with Reykjavik being the most expensive at GBP 476 (USD 615) per day on average, making it GBP 42 (USD 56) more expensive than Copenhagen in Denmark and GBP 80 (USD 102) more expensive than Oslo, Norway. The Icelandic capital has also seen the biggest rise in hotel costs, with a stay at a four-star hotel rising by a staggering GBP 40 (USD 52) a night, making up a large proportion of the daily business rate.

Ten most expensive locations for business travel in Europe

RankingCityAverage Cost (GBP)
=6Central London444


New York most expensive location in the world for business travel

New York is the only location in the world to rank higher for business travel costs than Geneva with a trip to the Big Apple costing GBP 618 (USD 799) a day on average.

Kilfedder said: “A big proportion of the cost of business travel to New York can be attributed to the high demand for hotels in the city with a room costing GBP 396 (USD 512) on average. These costs in combination with consistently high prices for transport and at many restaurants can make trips to the city extremely expensive, contributing to the city being ranked the most expensive in the world for business travel.”

Ten most expensive locations for business travel globally

RankingCityAverage Cost (GBP)Average Cost (USD)
1New York, USA618799
2Geneva, Switzerland553716
3Zurich, Switzerland511661
4Washington DC, USA481621
5Paris, France477617
6Reykjavik, Iceland476615
7San Francisco, USA448581
8Basel, Switzerland447579
9Los Angeles, USA446578
=10Bern, Switzerland444576
=10London, United Kingdom444574


Hong Kong remains the most expensive location in Asia for business travel

For the second successive year, Hong Kong has been ranked the most expensive location in Asia for business travel with the average business trip costing an overall total of GBP 398 (USD 515) per day, including hotel costs of GBP 221 (USD 286).

Kilfedder said: “Hong Kong has always been one of the most expensive Asian locations to visit on business, due to the combination of a high cost of goods and services, and expensive hotel prices; however, in recent years we have seen Hong Kong pull away slightly from other expensive locations such as Tokyo, Seoul and Singapore, and this year has been no different with Hong Kong now costing 4% more than Tokyo and 8% more than Seoul in second and third places respectively.”


Notes to Editors

  • Rooster will coordinate comment and interviews for Steven Kilfedder, Production Manager at ECA International
  • Figures used in this release were taken from ECA’s 2018/2019 Daily Rates Report, with prices recorded between September and December 2018 and exchange rates taken from ECA’s September 2018 Cost of Living survey.

For further press information, please contact:
Yasmine Triana/Aaryn Vaughan/James Richards
T: +44 (0)20 3440 8934
E: [email protected]

About ECA International (
ECA International is the market-leading provider of knowledge, information and technology that enables businesses to manage their international reward programmes.

Partnering with thousands of clients on every continent, we provide a fully-integrated suite of quality data, specialist software, consultancy and training. Our unparalleled insights guide clients as they mobilise their most valuable resource: people.

We make the complex world of international mobility simple, providing clients with the expertise and support they need to make the right decisions – every time.

ECA International: Mobility solutions for a world that’s constantly moving.

About ECA’s Daily Rates
ECA’s Daily Rates for business travellers help organisations to anticipate the cost of business trips and short-term assignments. Globally, the Daily Rates reports for 2018-19 are available for 400 locations in 195 countries.

Each report itemises costs for the following expenses for flexibility when calculating allowances for short trips abroad:

  • Hotel room (3, 4 and 5 star)
  • Meals
  • Laundry
  • Alcoholic and soft drinks
  • Incidental costs
  • Journeys by taxi

PLEASE NOTE – 4* hotel accommodation was used as the point of comparison for hotel accommodation costs in these rankings as it best represents the typical level of accommodation used by business travellers.