A recent report highlights positive trends in business travel during 2023, showcasing a rebound in both transient and group business travel, although overall business travel remains below pre-pandemic levels.
According to lodging data from STR, the hotel industry experienced a notable recovery in business and group travel, culminating in September with room demand reaching the second-highest levels ever recorded for the month.
Weekday occupancy, particularly in the top 25 largest hotel markets in the United States, witnessed an upswing. San Francisco, notably, boasted the highest weekday occupancy in the last week of September, nearing 90 percent.
Hyatt CEO Mark Hoplamazian emphasized the surge in group bookings, stating, “Group bookings are booming at this point. The power of human connection cannot be underestimated. Human-to-human connections make creativity work, it elevates the human spirit. That will sustain travel.”
While 2022 saw business travel totals 29 percent below 2019 levels, the report indicates that group occupancy data is steadily approaching pre-pandemic demand levels. Expectations are high that it will reach 2019 levels this fall.
Key trends identified in the STR research include a slow but steady recovery, leadership in recovery by small- and medium-sized companies, increased business travel from employees returning to the office, and the continued growth of bleisure travel.
In tandem with these trends, American Airlines recently unveiled a new business loyalty program named AAdvantage Business. This program offers eligible companies and their travelers the opportunity to earn miles and additional Loyalty Points for booking business travel through the airline’s official website or app.