2016 SME Survey

1Air Contracts Fared Better Than Expected

U.S. airlines are raking in record profits amid better cost control and low fuel prices. Yet they still are struggling to gain traction with fares in many markets, thanks to competition from low-cost carriers and other carriers that are growing their networks.

2016 SME Survey

2Hotel Negotiations Are Only Getting Harder

Hotels in the United States have been riding the wave of a seller's market for several years, particularly in such cities as San Francisco, where rates are rising quickly amid limited supply growth. At the same time, mergers are ramping up, including InterContinental Hotels Group's acquisition of Kimpton, Accor's acquisition of Fairmont and, biggest of all, Marriott International's acquisition of Starwood.

2016 SME Survey

3Car Rental Cos. Can't Get Traction on SME Pricing

Despite industry consolidation over the past several years, each of the three major car rental companies has kept its brands distinct, so the industry remains competitive. The industry also still is trying to balance inventory with demand, and until they do, fleet saturation will continue to stifle pricing growth. And while car rental executives see ridesharing services like Uber and Lyft more as competitors to taxis than to the car rental industry, those services have eaten away some of car rentals' share, as well, Abad said.

2016 SME Survey

4Buyers Work with Card Programs Directly

In general, there is no spending minimum for setting up a corporate card program, so setting them up can make sense even for companies with as little as $25,000 in spending per year or as few as five travelers, said Mario Kriebel, vice president of commercial payment solutions for BCD Travel. Implementation still presents challenges, however, including employee credit checks and ensuring that fees don't outweigh benefits, he said.

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