Business Travel Revenue Won’t Reach Pre-COVID Levels Until 2024

GlobeSt. – Business travel revenue will not likely hit pre-pandemic levels until 2024, with New York City, Washington DC, and San Francisco among the markets with the longest recovery ahead.

A new report from the American Hotel & Lodging Association and Kalibri Labs predicts the hotel industry will end this year down more than $59 billion in business travel revenue compared to 2019. The industry lost $49 billion in business travel revenue in 2020.

The research follows a recent AHLA survey finding that most business travelers are canceling, reducing, and/or postponing trips amid the Delta variant surge. Historically, business travel accounts for the hotel industry’s largest source of revenue.

Hotels are also forecast to end the year down half a million jobs as compared to 2019. The report states that for every 10 people directly employed on a hotel property, hotels also support an additional 26 jobs in the surrounding area and suggests that an additional nearly 1.3 million hotel-supported jobs are also at risk. “While some industries have started rebounding from the pandemic, this report is a sobering reminder that hotels and hotel employees are still struggling,” said Chip Rogers, president and CEO of AHLA. “Business travel is critical to our industry’s viability, especially in the fall and winter months when leisure travel normally begins to decline. Continued COVID-19 concerns among travelers will only exacerbate these challenges. That’s why it’s time for Congress to pass the bipartisan Save Hotel Jobs Act to help hotel employees and small business owners survive this crisis.” Other markets predicted to end the year with the biggest declines in business travel revenue include Orlando, Chicago, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Boston, San Diego, and the Hawaiian Islands.

California is the state projected to end the year with the biggest losses, followed by Florida and New York.