Silicon Valley and Tokyo Top List of Most Expensive Cities for Business Travel

By Paul Riegler on 24 April 2012
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Many seasoned business travelers anecdotally know that Tokyo is the most expensive city but now there’s hard evidence to provide it.  Concur Technologies, a company that offers travel and expense management solutions, analyzed over half a billion individual purchases made by business travelers in 2011 totaling over $50 billion.

These expenses included hotels, meals, and entertainment and were submitted by 15 million road warriors employed by roughly 15,000 companies across the globe.

The report shows that Tokyo, at $528.43 per day, was the most expensive city outside the U.S. (the report was divided between domestic and international destinations).  Also on the list was London ($468.98/day) and Paris ($440.65), hitting the number six and ten spots respectively.

But Tokyo wasn’t the most expensive destination in Concur’s report, Santa Clara in California’s Silicon Valley was, coming in at $644.65 per day.   Close behind were New York City ($628.37) and San Francisco ($623.03).  Chicago ($529.76) and Washington, D.C. ($518.99) were relative bargains.

To understand how Santa Clara got to first place, one has to look at the underlying data.  In particular, at least for the business travelers using Concur’s expense reporting tools, Santa Clara was far more expensive for car rentals than any other city.

The rental car data was as follows:

  • Santa Clara – $334.55
  • New York City – $154.19
  • San Francisco – $237.31
  • Boston – $198.40
  • Garden City – $196.92
  • Plano – $226.39
  • Bellevue – $231.97
  • Chicago – $188.60
  • Washington, D.C. – $ 151.60

Santa Clara also had the second highest ground transportation costs (Garden City was the most expensive). For lodging, it was number 7 out of 10 with a cost of $104.34 versus the most expensive city, New York, at $196.57. At $35, it was the least expensive for dining (New York City was the most expensive at $67.04). Santa Clara was also 7 out of 10 for entertainment costs.

(Pictured: Kyubei, one of the best-known – and most expensive – sushi restaurants in Tokyo)

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