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AHLA: Business Travel Not Expected to Return Until 2024

Business travel is not expected to return to pre-pandemic levels until at least 2023 or 2024, according to The American Hotel & Lodging Association’s AHLA State of the Hotel Industry 2021. The report examines the high-level economics of the hotel industry’s recovery, the specific impact on and eventual return of business travel and consumer travel sentiments.

The report outlines the devastating effect of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic on the hotel industry. The hospitality industry workforce is down nearly 4 million jobs compared to the same time in 2019. In addition, half of U.S. hotel rooms are projected to remain empty in 2021.

Business travel, which makes up the largest source of hotel revenue, remains virtually nonexistent, according to the report. AHLA predicts that business travel will start a slow return in the second half of 2021 but will not return to 2019 levels until 2024. Leisure travel however, is expected to return sooner, with consumers optimistic about national distribution of a vaccine and with that an ability to travel again in 2021.

“COVID-19 has wiped out 10 years of hotel job growth. Yet the hallmark of hospitality is endless optimism, and I am confident in the future of our industry,” said Chip Rogers, president and CEO at AHLA.

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About David Cohen

David Cohen is Southeast Editorial Director at Connect Commercial Real Estate. David is a media veteran with more than 10 years of experience in journalism, copywriting and communications across a variety of roles. He is responsible for covering commercial real estate news and trends in the Southeast, Florida, Washington D.C. and Boston at Connect CRE as well as specializing in the Student Housing sector. Prior to joining Connect, David was the editor of Northeast Real Estate Business magazine and Student Housing Business magazine at France Media as well as spending time freelancing for ESPN and the Associated Press in the fast-paced field of live sports event production. He is also an owner and investor in multifamily real estate in Atlanta, GA. David currently resides in Atlanta and graduated from the College of Communication & Information at the University of Tennessee Knoxville.

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