Travel prices will rise? Guess that’s no surprise.

American Express is predicting business travel and entertainment costs will rise in 2003 by 2 to 3 percent. This follows efforts by travel suppliers to adjust pricing to lackluster travel demands over the past 18 months, says the company.

The financial company’s study—American Express Trends and Forecasts for the Business Travel Industry -- Preview 2003—suggests hotel room costs will remain flat or fall slightly, since many venues are still struggling to balance relatively low demand with oversupply. Prices for typical business airfares in North America will rise by 3 to 4 percent, after holding steady in 2002, for the most part, when compared to2001. Typical business airfares, according to the study, are generally the lowest fully refundable economy fares, with up to three days advance purchase.

Also, says the study, with low leisure fares still in vogue, an increasing number of business travelers have been booking leisure fares to cut travel bills. But airline rules regarding leisure fares may increase air travel costs for companies next year.