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Methodology

BTN's 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 Corporate Travel Index uses U.S. and non-U.S. hotel data provided by BCD Travel's Advito consultancy. It reflects average daily rates that corporate clients paid for travel that occurred between January and November of each year. BTN collected hotel tax and surcharge data. Advito also provided U.S. daily car rental data for travel during the same time periods.

Under the direction of Lynn Minnaert—academic chair and clinical associate professor in the Jonathan M. Tisch Center for Hospitality and Tourism, part of the New York University School of Professional Studies—students called restaurants in 200 cities to gather meal prices and taxi rates.

For U.S. cities, breakfast is based on two eggs, meat, toast and coffee or orange juice; lunch on soup, a hamburger or chicken sandwich, a slice of pie and a soft drink; and dinner on soup, a filet steak, a glass of red wine, dessert and coffee. For cities with an annual GDP above $95 billion, the students surveyed three chains and six independent restaurants that were identified via TripAdvisor and three hotel restaurants for breakfast. For each lunch and dinner, they called six chains and six independent restaurants. For smaller cities, they surveyed two independent restaurants and one hotel restaurant for breakfast and three chains and three independent restaurants for each lunch and dinner. Sample breakfast chains include Denny's, IHOP and Starbucks. Sample lunch chains include Chili's, Applebee's, Panera Bread and Olive Garden. Sample dinner chains include LongHorn Steakhouse and Olive Garden.

For non-U.S. cities, prices are based on a continental breakfast; a sandwich, salad and non-alcoholic drink for lunch; and a non-alcoholic drink, salad and fish, chicken or beef for dinner. No gratuity or tax is included. In non-U.S. cities with populations of more than 1.5 million, the students surveyed 12 restaurants for each lunch and dinner. In smaller cities, they called six. In some cities, they focused on hotel restaurants in order to find the standard meal items. For each year, prices are based on the Dec. 2 conversion rate from local currency to U.S. dollars.