The hotel industry is projected to end 2021 down more than $59 billion in business travel revenue compared to 2019, according to a report released by the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) and Kalibri Labs.
That estimate comes after the industry lost nearly $49 billion in business travel revenue in 2020.
Business travel is the hotel industry’s largest source of revenue and has been slow to return since the onset of the pandemic. It includes corporate, group, government, and other commercial categories. According to the report, revenue is not expected to reach pre-pandemic levels until 2024.
The new analysis comes on the heels of a recent AHLA survey, which found that most business travelers are canceling, reducing, and postponing trips amid rising COVID-19 cases.
Hotels are expected to end 2021 down nearly 500,000 jobs compared to 2019. For every 10 people directly employed on a hotel property, the AHLA estimates hotels support an additional 26 jobs in the community, from restaurants and retail to hotel supply companies—which the report states means 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, AHLA president and CEO. “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.”
Of the 10 markets projected to end 2021 with the largest declines in hotel business travel revenue, Orlando is the only in the South. Southern states in the 10 projected to end this year with the largest declines in hotel business travel revenue are Florida, Texas, and Georgia.