Hotel CEOs Cautiously Optimistic, Bullish on Business Travel Return – BTN

The Memorial Day holiday was a boon for the lodging industry as pent-up leisure demand came roaring back, even setting occupancy or revenue per available room records for the weekend for some major hotel companies. They’re also professing strong faith in the eventual return of business travelers to their properties. 

BWH Hotel Group, which includes the Best Western brand, during Memorial Day weekend had an all-time high in RevPAR, said BWH president and CEO David Kong on Monday during a panel at the International Hospitality Conference webinar hosted by the NYU School of Professional Studies’ Jonathan M. Tisch Center of Hospitality. 

Hilton Worldwide CEO Christopher Nassetta told CNBC that occupancy levels reached nearly 93 percent throughout the U.S. for May 29. 

“We will have the best leisure summer we’ve ever had in the history of this business is my guess,” Nassetta said during the NYU webinar. “Business transient and group will take a bit longer to come back, but we do have real reasons for optimism. China has already seen business transient and group travel back, but they opened up sooner. When we look during the week in business transient, and it’s starting to happen on the group side, underneath is the same pent-up demand released in leisure that will get released to other segments.”

“I think why everyone is positive is they recognize that 2019 was a record year for this industry in terms of growth and consumer travel, and those fundamentals are going to come back,” said IHG Hotels & Resorts CEO Keith Barr. “They haven’t evaporated overnight on a permanent basis, they are just challenged by what we are going through as in industry today. … This industry will come back, it will get back to growth. It’s an industry that outperforms GDP typically.” 

Still, the participating hotel chiefs agreed that the future slope of the recovery will depend on the continued distribution of vaccines, the relaxation of government travel restrictions, the reopening of air routes, the return to school in the fall and the return to offices, which they said is the spur that business travel needs to accelerate that segment’s recovery.

Click here to read complete article at BTN.