FORT WORTH, Texas - Amid several economic indicators being released this week, American Airlines released results of a recent online survey of more than 1,100 American Airlines Business ExtrAAÂź travel managers of small- and medium-size businesses (SMBs).
The survey shows 71 percent of SMB travel managers estimate the economic outlook for their companies is expected to improve in the next 12 to 18 months. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, small businesses accounted for 65 percent of net new jobs over the past 17 years.
Despite mixed economic data regarding the strength of the U.S. economy, 93 percent of respondents denoted face-to-face meetings as being either crucial or helpful to the success of their business. Approximately 86 percent of responding SMB travel managers project that their companies' travel will either stay the same or increase up to 24 percent over the next year. Another 6 percent anticipated a travel increase of 25 percent or more over the next 12 months.
In addition, the survey found that 65 percent of small businesses travel within the U.S. most frequently, 14 percent travel more internationally, and 21 percent engage in both domestic and international travel equally. The top 10 domestic cities most traveled to by SMBs included New York, Chicago, Dallas/Fort Worth, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Miami, Washington, D.C., Las Vegas, Atlanta and Boston. Four of the top five domestic destinations for business by SMBs are key financial and business centers. They are among the largest U.S. metropolitan areas in terms of population size, and are American Airlines hubs â making American's network and schedule of service particularly well-suited to small business travelers.
The small business travel managers surveyed also noted their preferred hotels include Hilton and Marriott. About 42 percent of SMBs specified that they stayed at a Hilton Hotel and Resort, an AAdvantageÂź participating hotel where customers can earn and redeem miles, while 45 percent typically stay at a Marriott Hotel and Resort. Courtyard by Marriott, along with AAdvantage-participating Sheraton and Westin Hotels, rounded out the top five hotels typically used during SMB travel.
Survey results showed Hertz as the most popular rental car brand (48 percent) for SMBs, followed by Avis (37 percent), Budget (24 percent), National (22 percent) and Alamo (12 percent) â all of which are AAdvantage-participating car rental companies.