A mid-September report from the American Hotel & Lodging Association and Kalibri Labs estimates that the national hotel industry will generate $ 59 billion less in business travel revenue in 2021 than in 2019, a figure exceeding the $ 49 billion the industry took in. 2020.
According to AHLA, “Business travel is the hospitality industry’s biggest source of revenue and has been slow to return” even after Covid vaccines have been widely available since early 2021.
Of the top 25 business travel destinations in America, the report predicts that 22 will experience a revenue reduction of more than 70% this year compared to 2019. And the top five markets: New York; Washington DC; San-Francisco; Orlando; and Chicago, will each experience business travel losses of at least 81.5%, severely hampering the ability of their meeting-focused hotels to stay afloat.
“This report is a sobering reminder that hotels and their employees are still struggling,” said Chip Rogers, President and CEO of AHLA. “Business travel is critical to the viability of our industry, particularly during the fall and winter months when leisure travel normally begins to decline.
Unfortunately, sentiment among business travelers for the end of 2021 is not yet rebounding, as the delta variant of Covid has caused an increase in the number of cases and hospitalizations across the country. According to another recent survey carried out for AHLA by research firm Morning Consult, 67% of business travelers are likely to take fewer trips by the end of 2021 than expected, while 52% say they are likely to cancel one or more planned trips without immediate rescheduling plans.
“The lingering concerns of Covid-19 among travelers will only exacerbate the challenges for the hospitality industry,” Rogers said. “This is why it is time for Congress to pass the bipartisan Save Hotel Jobs Act to help hotel workers and small business owners survive this crisis.”
On September 15, Representative Charlie Crist (D., Florida) publicly supported this position. “Congress has already helped other travel and tourism sectors with the passage of the airline payroll support program, the restaurant revitalization fund and the Save Our Stages law, ”said Crist. “Hotel conditions are just as bad or worse than any other industry, and circumstances remain dire for the foreseeable future. “TThe Save Hotel Jobs Act will be part of the larger budget discussions in Congress this week.
Meanwhile, AHLA has provided its latest estimate on when business travel will return to 2019 levels: sometime in 2024.