Any return to business travel in the United States in 2021 for now looks rather tentative, according to travel buyers and business travelers themselves. The vast majority of buyers don’t project their organizations’ spending levels this year to reach 2019 levels; in fact, on average they don’t see it reaching even half that level. Travelers are perhaps more optimistic they’ll hit the road this year, but they haven’t really started yet, according to ARC air sales.
After what STR called the worst year on record for U.S. hotel performance, recovery should begin in 2021, but fully restoring 2019 levels of occupancy and revenue still is projected to be a multi-year process. Meanwhile, even as corporate air travel spending remains low, booking windows have narrowed considerably, likely due to the pandemic-caused updated booking policies airlines and hotels implemented to ease cancellation and rebooking.