Fundamentals of Travel Have Not Changed – CoStar

Long-Term Trajectory Points to Growth in Demand

According to IHG Hotels & Resorts, the COVID-19 pandemic has interrupted the fundamentals of travel, and the industry is still growing back from those interruptions, but the fundamentals haven’t changed.

Throughout the first quarter of 2021, IHG Hotels & Resorts signed nearly one new hotel each work day, said Elie Maalouf, CEO of the Americas at IHG.

In a video interview with Hotel News at the 2021 Americas Lodging Investment Summit, Maalouf said that interest in new IHG deals indicates that investors, travelers and lenders believe in the hotel industry.

The COVID-19 pandemic has interrupted the fundamentals of travel, and the industry is still growing back from those interruptions, but the fundamentals haven’t changed, he said.

“The fundamentals of growth in [gross domestic product] around the world, the growth in population, the growth in household income — that eventually leads people to want to explore and to travel for leisure, and leads businesses to want to explore and travel to expand their businesses, domestically and globally,” he said.

Over the two weeks prior to the interview, Maalouf said he had been on 12 to 13 flights to cities including Atlanta, New York, Minneapolis, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. The month before, he visited Italy.

Each flight in the U.S. had completely full planes, one or two of which were actually oversold, and the international flights were nearly full, he said. While many passengers were leisure travelers, he could see that based on their clothes and luggage, several were business travelers as well.

Through conversations with corporate customers, IHG has learned many have relaxed their restrictions on employees traveling, so they’re getting back on the road, he said.

“We’re also seeing some advanced group bookings coming back, and meetings and events being planned,” he said. “I think you might see an acceleration of that after Labor Day.”

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