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.
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.
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