Resurgence of group travel boosts hotel bookings
New York, NY, September 20, 2022 – “More than two years after the pandemic, group travel has been entrenched, hotels are finally selling blocks of rooms,” reports the Wall Street Journal. “Reservations for corporate events, conferences and large social gatherings such as weddings and reunions began to pick up steam this spring and accelerated for many hotels and resorts throughout summer, analysts and hotel owners said.
“Earlier this year, as group travel began to pick up, many companies planned smaller gatherings with employees or customers than before the pandemic. As concerns about Covid-19 infections have waned, guest lists have grown, said Linda McNairy, vice president of the meetings and events division of American Express Global Business Travel.
“Companies are also catching up on so-called incentive trips, organized to reward top performers with luxury stays in destinations such as Hawaii, she said.
“The average daily room rate for group bookings last month topped pre-pandemic prices at nearly $204, according to preliminary figures from hotel data and analytics firm STR. The group’s revenue per available room, a key metric for the industry, was just 3.4% below 2019 levels last month, STR said.
“In a reversal from previous economic recoveries, group travel is rebounding relative to individual business travel, said Truist Securities analyst C. Patrick Scholes. Video conferencing, remote work and growing concerns about the environmental impact of flying likely means companies and their employees are more selective about solo travel, he said.
“Things are going better than we could have imagined,” said Peter Strebel, president of Omni Hotels & Resorts, which has 50 properties in North America and specializes in business and leisure group travel. . “We’ve been suspended for two years and people can’t wait to get back to business.”