July 12 2012 by Chris McGinnis
It's more likely than not that the business traveler you are seated next to on the plane, or bumping elbows with at the hotel breakfast bar works for a small or medium sized company. And it's likely you'll see more of this kind of traveler out and about in the coming year, according to a new survey from American Airlines.
In a June survey of 1,100 of travel managers at small and medium sized companies, 71% said that the economic outlook for their firms should improve in the next 12-18 months. Despite the current mixed data about the state of the US economy, 86% of these companies expect their travel to increase up to 24% over the next year. A very optimistic 6% anticipate an increase of more than 25%.
And despite all the attention focused on "alternatives" to travel such as video- or teleconferencing, 93% said that face-to-face meetings are crucial, or at least helpful to the success of their businesses.
With this improving outlook, Best Western now offers an excellent opportunity designed to promote loyalty among small business owners...and their employees... and provide incentives to get their businesses growing again.
Since nearly all of Best Western's 4,000 hotels are individually owned by small business owners, they "get it" when it comes to the addressing needs of like-minded business owners.
With that in mind, Best Western recently launched a new "Business Advantage" program that offers small and medium sized businesses exactly what they need from a hotel chain:
>A great deal: Members get an across-the-board 10% discount off the hotel's lowest rate. (That would be a savings of $30 off a three-night stay at a hotel offering a rate of $100 per night. If you or your employees stay at hotels at least three times per month, that's a minimum savings of $360 in a year. Not bad!)
>Special recognition: Both owners AND employees get automatic elite-level membership in Best Western's popular Rewards program, which offers perks such as room upgrades, points bonuses and early check-in/check-out privileges.
>More points: Both the traveler AND the owner earn Rewards points. As usual, the traveler earns Rewards points for their stays--- but get this: with Business Advantage, Best Western credits the business owners' account with 10% of the points earned by traveling employees.
What do you think? Do you work for a small or medium sized company that is finally expanding and traveling more as the economy improves?
Chris McGinnis is Best Western's travel trends expert and business travel blogger on youmustbetrippin.com