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COVID-19 is killing American business travel

COVID-19 is killing American business travel
COVID-19 is killing American business travel
Written by Harry Johnson

Despite an uptick in leisure travel over the summer, the new survey highlights the dim outlook for business travel and events, which account for more than half of hotel revenue and aren’t expected to return to pre-pandemic levels until 2024.

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  • 67% of US business travelers are planning to take fewer trips.
  • 52% of US business travelers are likely to cancel existing travel plans without rescheduling.
  • 60% of US business travelers are planning to postpone existing travel plans.

US business travelers are scaling back travel plans amid rising COVID-19 cases, with 67% planning to take fewer trips, 52% likely to cancel existing travel plans without rescheduling, and 60% planning to postpone existing travel plans, according to a new national survey conducted on behalf of the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA).

Despite an uptick in leisure travel over the summer, the new survey highlights the dim outlook for business travel and events, which account for more than half of hotel revenue and aren’t expected to return to pre-pandemic levels until 2024.

The lack of business travel and events has major repercussions for employment both directly on hotel properties, and in the broader community. Hotels are expected to end 2021 down nearly 500,000 jobs compared to 2019. For every 10 people directly employed on a hotel property, hotels support an additional 26 jobs in the community, from restaurants and retail to hotel supply companies—meaning an additional nearly 1.3 million hotel-supported jobs are also at risk.

The survey of 2,200 adults was conducted August 11-12, 2021. Of these, 414 people, or 18% of respondents, are business travelers—that is, those who either work in a job that typically includes work-related travel or who expect to travel for business at least once between now and the end of the year. Key findings among business travelers include the following:

  • 67% are likely to take fewer trips, while 68% are likely to take shorter trips
  • 52% say they are likely to cancel existing travel plans with no plans to reschedule
  • 60% are likely to postpone existing travel plans until a later date
  • 66% are likely to only travel to places they can drive to
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About the author

Harry Johnson

Harry Johnson has been the assignment editor for eTurboNews for almost 20 years. He lives in Honolulu, Hawaii, and is originally from Europe. He enjoys writing and covering the news.

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