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Travel Trends Survey Shows SMB Travel and Economic Outlook in US Positive

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American Airlines has released results of a recent online survey of more than 1,100 American Airlines Business ExtrAA travel managers of small and medium-size businesses (SMBs).

The survey shows 71% 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% of net new jobs over the past 17 years.

Despite mixed economic data regarding the strength of the U.S. economy, 93% of respondents denoted face-to-face meetings as being either crucial or helpful to the success of their business. Approximately 86% of responding SMB travel managers project that their companies' travel will either stay the same or increase up to 24% over the next year. Another 6% anticipated a travel increase of 25% or more over the next 12 months.

The survey also found that 65% of small businesses questioned travel within the U.S. most frequently, 14% travel more internationally, and 21% 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.

The small business travel managers surveyed also noted their preferred hotels include Hilton and Marriott. About 42% of SMBs specified that they stayed at a Hilton Hotel and Resort, an AAdvantage participating hotel where customers can earn and redeem miles, while 45% 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%) for SMBs, followed by Avis (37%), Budget (24%), National (22%) and Alamo (12%) all of which are AAdvantage-participating car rental companies.

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