Good news for small businesses: 72 percent of small and medium sized businesses surveyed by American Airlines nationwide anticipate their company’s economic outlook will improve in the next 12 to 18 months. About four out of 10 anticipate that their corporate business travel will increase during that time, AA said. This was further underscored by the 64 percent of small and medium business employees who feel that face-to-face meetings requiring airline travel is crucial to the success of their business.
In addition, nearly all small and medium companies across the country are actively controlling airline costs, AA reports. They say enrolling their company in a business-to-business loyalty program is one of the top three methods to maximize the value of their travel. Additionally, nearly half of all customers surveyed said 10 to 24 percent of their annual budget is allocated for travel expenses.
American released the results of the survey that included more than 2,600 employees of small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs). The survey offers compelling insight into air travel trends of SMBs in the current economic environment, AA says, and reveals a positive future for small and medium-sized business growth and the importance of business travel to the U.S. economy.
The growing SMB market continues to play a crucial role in the U.S. economy and its recovery, AA notes. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy, 27.5 million small businesses in the U.S. in 2009, representing 99.7 percent of all employer firms, generated 65 percent of net new jobs in the country over the past 17 years. In addition, small businesses employ about half of all U.S. workers.
“We recognize our role in connecting people and being an engine of commerce around the world,” said Karen Buls – American’s Director – Small and Medium Enterprise Products, Marketing and Sales Strategy. “We will continue to support and encourage the growth and long-term success of the SMB community through our products, services and strategic partnerships.”
AA reports that it has a long history of supporting small and medium-sized businesses, including sponsorship of organizations like Business Matchmaking, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Futurallia and SCORE, which provides training and mentoring services for a wide variety of SMBs.
American offers travel programs specifically designed to benefit small and mid-sized companies that depend upon face-to-face contact across the nation or the globe to succeed. The American Airlines Business Suite includes the highly popular and industry-leading Business ExtrAA program, which rewards companies for doing business with American by letting companies accrue points for travel and other rewards, while employees can still earn personal AAdvantage flyer miles. There is no charge to become a member of the Business ExtrAA program. The Suite also includes the AAirpass program, which offers discounted fares on last-minute travel with immediate VIP benefits, along with a cash-rebate credit card and discounts for group travel.