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

ORLANDO, Florida. – While vacationers are spending billions on destination accommodations this year, the US hospitality industry is still missing out on its biggest source of revenue: business travel.

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

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

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Projected statewide hotel business travel revenue is down 11.1%, nearly $1 billion less than in 2019. In Florida, hotel revenue from the West Palm Beach area came in second after Orlando with projected travel revenue down 20.6% this year.

Nationally, San Francisco, New York and Washington DC are expected 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 says.

Despite the multi-billion dollar revenue shortfall expected this year, data shows the US hospitality industry was in much worse shape in 2021.

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

“While declining COVID-19 case counts and easing of CDC guidelines provide a sense of optimism for travel recovery, this report underscores how difficult it will be for many hotels and hotel employees to hotels to recover from years of lost revenue,” said Chip Rogers, president. and CEO of AHLA. “The good news is that after two years of working virtually, Americans are recognizing the unparalleled value of face-to-face meetings and saying they’re ready to get back on the road for business travel.”

As of summer 2021, the hospitality industry had received approximately $14 billion in Paycheck Protection Program loans stemming from the CARES Act and the US bailout.

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

The AHLA said 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. Senator Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, introduced a bill called the “Save Hotel Jobs Act” in 2021 to help hoteliers and hotel workers financially .

The bill has not advanced since May and appears to be stalled in committee.

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