August 17, 2022

Orlando hotel business travel revenue still far behind pre-pandemic levels

ORLANDO, Fla. – As vacationers spend billions on destination lodging this year, the U.S. hotel…

Orlando hotel business travel revenue still far behind pre-pandemic levels

ORLANDO, Fla. – As vacationers spend billions on destination lodging this year, the U.S. hotel industry is still missing its top source of revenue: business travel.

According to a report from the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) and Kalibri Labs, hotels in the Orlando market are projected to earn 26% percent less from business travel this year compared to 2019.

That equates to a loss of $722,329,630, the report shows.

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Projected hotel business travel revenue statewide is down 11.1%, nearly a billion dollars less than in 2019. In Florida, West Palm Beach-area hotel revenue came in second after Orlando with projected travel revenue down 20.6% this year.

Nationally, San Francisco, New York City and Washington D.C. are projected to end 2022 with the largest percentage declines in hotel business travel revenue.

Business travel — including corporate, group, government and other commercial categories — is not expected to fully recover until 2024, the report stated.

Despite the projected multi-billion dollar shortfall this year, data shows the U.S. hotel industry was in far worse condition in 2021.

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According to the April 2022 AHLA report, leisure hotel bookings are driving up the demand for hotel rooms, with spending to return to pre-pandemic levels in 2022.

“While dwindling COVID-19 case counts and relaxed CDC guidelines are providing a sense of optimism for reigniting travel, this report underscores how tough it will be for many hotels and hotel employees to recover from years of lost revenue,” said Chip Rogers, president and CEO of AHLA. “The good news is that after two years of virtual work arrangements, Americans recognize the unmatched value of face-to-face meetings and say they are ready to start getting back on the road for business travel.”

By summer of 2021, the hotel industry had received about $14 billion in Paycheck Protection Program loans stemming from the CARES Act and the American Rescue Plan.

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A 2020 investigation by the nonprofit news organization ProPublica found U.S. hotel chains — even those with more than 500 employees — received a large share of the pandemic relief assistance.

The AHLA has stated that hotels are the only segment of the hospitality and leisure industry yet to receive direct aid.

Florida Rep. Charlie Christ, D-District 13, and U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, introduced a bill called the “Save Hotel Jobs Act” in 2021 to financially assist hoteliers and hotel employees.

The legislation has not moved forward since that May and appears to be stuck in committee.

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