According to a new report released by the American Hotel & Lodging Association and Kalibri Labs, U.S. hotels are expected to earn $20 billion less in business travel revenue in 2022 than in 2019. Hotels had already lost around $108 billion in 2020 and 2021 combined, due to the pandemic's impact on corporate travel.
While leisure travel is expected to return to pre-pandemic levels this year, business travel, which is the hotel industry's largest source of revenue, will take significantly longer to recover. Many urban markets that rely heavily on business from meetings and events have been disproportionately affected by Covid-19. Among them are San Francisco and New York City, which are projected to end the year 68.8 percent and 55.3 percent, respectively, below 2019 levels.
The states or districts that are estimated to be the hardest hit are Wyoming and Washington, D.C., falling 62.8 percent and 59.8 percent, respectively, behind pre-pandemic numbers. Full state-by-state and market-by-market breakdowns have been released as part of the report.
This latest insights follow a recent AHLA survey that found 80 percent of employed Americans and 86 percent of business travelers say face-to-face interactions are important for maximizing company success.
"While dwindling Covid-19 case counts and relaxed CDC guidelines are providing a sense of optimism for reigniting travel, this report underscores how tough it will be for many hotels and hotel employees to recover from years of lost revenue," said Chip Rogers, president and CEO of AHLA. "The good news is that after two years of virtual work arrangements, Americans recognize the unmatched value of face-to-face meetings and say they are ready to start getting back on the road for business travel."