U.S. hotel leisure travel revenue likely up this year to pre-pandemic levels

Post-pandemic recovery remains uneven, particularly in many major cities and destinations where business travel continues to lag, according to a report by the American Hotel & Lodging Association and Kalibri Labs.

U.S. HOTEL LEISURE travel revenue is projected to rise 14 percent this year over pre-pandemic levels and business travel revenue is expected to be within 1 percent of 2019 range, according to a report by the American Hotel & Lodging Association and Kalibri Labs. However, these projections are not adjusted for inflation, and real hotel revenue recovery may take many years, a statement said.

Among the top 50 U.S. markets, 80 percent are projected to see hotel leisure travel revenue exceed 2019 levels, but just 40 percent are expected reach that milestone for business travel revenue. Many urban markets are yet to recover due to their dependence on business from events and group meetings, the report said.

All markets in the top 10 are likely to report increase in leisure travel revenue except New York, Washington and San Francisco. Whereas, in business travel revenue only Orlando, Las Vegas and San Diego will end up this year in green among the top 10.

“The hotel industry continues its march toward recovery, but we still have a way to go before we fully get there,” said Chip Rogers, AHLA president and CEO. “That’s why AHLA remains focused on working with members, lawmakers and stakeholders in markets that are rebounding more slowly to ensure the full return of meetings, conferences, and group travel in addition to leisure and business travel. At the same time, we are continuing to grow the industry’s talent pipeline by highlighting the unprecedented career opportunities hotels are offering. Thanks to higher wages, better benefits, and more flexibility and opportunities for advancement, there has never been a better time to work at a hotel.”

The uptick in revenue is leading to historic career opportunities for hotel employees, with more than 115,000 hotel jobs currently open across the nation, AHLA said.

To help hotels fill open jobs and raise awareness of the hotel industry’s 200+ career pathways, the AHLA Foundation’s “A Place to Stay” multi-channel advertising campaign is now active in 14 cities. AHLA recently completed a series of “Hospitality is Working” events in major cities across the country.

The AHLA survey in September revealed that 87 percent of hotels are now experiencing a staffing shortage and 36 percent said they witness severe shortage.

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