Hotel CEOs ‘Cautiously Optimistic,’ Bullish on Business Travel Return

Hotel CEOs are optimistic for the future of business travel following the boom of leisure travel bookings on Memorial Day weekend. According to BWH Hotel Group president and CEO David Kong, the brand, which includes Best Western, had an all-time high RevPAR during that holiday break. Hilton Worldwide CEO Christopher Nassetta told CNBC that occupancy levels reached nearly 93 percent throughout the U.S. for 29MAY. “We will have the best leisure summer we’ve ever had in the history of this business is my guess,” Nassetta said during the NYU webinar. “Business transient and group will take a bit longer to come back, but we do have real reasons for optimism. China has already seen business transient and group travel back, but they opened up sooner. When we look during the week in business transient, and it’s starting to happen on the group side, underneath is the same pent-up demand released in leisure that will get released to other segments.” Marriott International CEO Anthony Capuano said he’s “very bullish on the recovery of business travel. … Talk to a partner from any consulting firm and ask them what their plans are. They may say they’ll moderate a bit. But then you ask them, ‘What happens the first time you decide to make a pitch via technology, and your primary competitor makes the trip?’ Their quick response is, ‘Then all bets are off and we’re right back to traveling the way we were pre-pandemic.’”

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