New Jack City: KC’s Cost of Living for Road Warriors, Conventioneers

traveling_salesmanThe cost of a visitor’s daily living expenses speaks volumes about the current state of economy in KC…

I’m talking about the per diems companies hold their employees expenses to when traveling on business. Generally speaking the per diems were up marginally for 2012. Hotel rates increased while car rentals and meal expenses decreased slightly.

However, per diems going down doesn’t necessarily speak well for a given market like Kansas City. It can mean that economic pressures are forcing the local hospitality industry to lower its pricing structure. So it’s really more about what a market can and WILL bear.

And it’s all very competitive between cities. Especially when it comes to attracting conventions.

So how did Kansas City fare?

Well, Business Travel News ranks us as theĀ  No. 47 market for 2013—with 1.3% drop in what visitors would have to spend.

The mag says an average day in K.C.—including hotel, rental car and meals—will cost $ 278.80.

By comparison that visitor would have spend $462.28 in San Francisco, $392.32 in Chicago, $374.59 in L.A., $319.12 in New Orleans, $305.25 in Denver, $305.20 in Dallas, $300.24 in Las Vegas and $278.94 in St. Louis which was ranked 46th.

On the lower end of the spectrum are the daily per diems for Milwaukee which came in at $275.50, Indianapolis at $260.49, Knoxville at $252.06 and Chattanooga at $246.78.

The lowest cost city among the top 100 was Shreveport where the daily per diem was down 3.4% to $237.26.

The most expensive U.S. city?

Still the Big Apple at a daily rate of $574.33, up a whopping 7.0%.

puPq25Rg3ll12p4m3c6rOzyYo1_400A closer look at the 2013 corporate travel index for Kansas City indicates that local hotel prices have increased by 6.7% to an average of $153.97 per night.

Yet current car rental costs here have plunged 16.2% to an average of $47.62, one of the biggest decreases in the 100 measured markets. Only Rochester exceeded it with a decrease of 21.3% and San Jose where the average daily rate dropped by 19.7%.

Finally when it comes to meals, KC’s daily cost factor dropped 5.6% for visitors. The average breakfast here is $11.32, with business lunches coming in at $20.89 and a nice dinner at $45.00.

hooker-image-1-674810471Making KC’s total daily meals per diem $77.21.

And in case you’re wondering…

Geneva is now the most expensive European city with a daily per diem of $539.00 while Tokyo tops it for Asia at $548.00.

Airfare, wear and tear on luggage and companionship—NOT included.

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2 Responses to New Jack City: KC’s Cost of Living for Road Warriors, Conventioneers

  1. smartman says:


    Great info!

    I spent over 100 days on the road in 2012, NY to LA, Miami to Seattle and everywhere in between. I had an average per day cost of $215.00 for food, lodging and local transport be it rental car, cab or train, including parking and fuel. Hotels are usually Fairfield or Courtyard with mid-size car rentals.

    On vacation I will easily spend 4 times that much per day so I realize there is some relativity involved when travelling for business or pleasure.

    What methodology is used to arrive at the various per diems per city?

    • jack p. says:

      Hey smartman,
      Let me quote from ‘Business Travel News’:
      “The 2013 edition of ‘Business Travel News’ Corporate Travel Index is based on actual prices paid in 2012 by corporate clients of BCD Travel, provided to ‘Business Travel News’ by BCD’s Advito consulting arm, as well as research conducted by The BTN Group and New York-based consulting firm Mercer, Inc.”

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