Why the travel and hospitality industries need business travel to make a comeback

Business travel seems to be making a comeback. More people are flying to off-site meetings and events, for example. And now Intercontinental Hotels Group, the parent company of Holiday Inn, says its revenue from corporate bookings has returned to pre-pandemic levels. 

The industry is keen to see business travel get back to something resembling normal. 

A comeback could mean a lot to the travel and hospitality sectors. For one thing, business travelers tend to spend more than vacationers. 

“It’s not to say that business people are profligate spenders,” said analyst Henry Harteveldt with Atmosphere Research, who adds they’re more likely to shell out for last-minute plane tickets or to entertain clients on the company’s dime. 

And corporate events like conferences are important for hotels’ bottom line, said Chris Anderson with Cornell’s school of hotel management. 

“Those negotiations might happen a year in advance for a large conference. That helps hotels plan and ensure they have sufficient cash flow.”

But Harteveldt with Atmosphere Research said corporate travel isn’t quite where it was before the pandemic, in part because workers’ preferences have changed. 

“A lot of people who loved being road warriors going into the pandemic used the last couple of years to reassess their lives,” he said.

And now, they’d rather meet clients or colleagues over Zoom than hop on a plane. 

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