Business Travel Steadily Returning to Pre-Pandemic Levels


Donald Wood

by Donald Wood
Last updated: 8:40 AM ET, Mon October 23, 2023

A new report shows that while business travel is still down
from pre-pandemic totals, transient and group business travel have shown growth
in 2023.

According to STR,
lodging data confirms the accelerated recovery of business and group travel,
with the hotel industry finishing September strong with room demand the
second-highest ever for the month.

Weekday occupancy has also increased, particularly in the
top 25 largest hotel markets in the United States, especially San Francisco,
which posted the highest weekday occupancy in the last week of September at
nearly 90 percent. 

“Group bookings are booming at this point,” Hyatt CEO Mark
Hoplamazian said. “That’s happening in so many companies. The power of human
connection cannot be underestimated. Human-to-human connections makes
creativity work, it elevates the human spirit. That will sustain travel.”

While 2022 totals were still 29 percent below 2019 levels, group
occupancy data is now approaching pre-pandemic demand levels and there are
expectations that it will reach 2019 levels this fall.

The STR research found several major trends, including a
slow but steady recovery, small- and medium-sized companies are leading the way,
a boost in business travel from employees returning to the office and the
continued growth of bleisure travel.

Last week, American Airlines announced the introduction of a
new business loyalty program, dubbed AAdvantage
Business. As part of the program, eligible companies and their travelers
will earn miles and additional Loyalty Points for booking business travel on the
carrier’s official website or app.

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