U.S. business travelers are scaling back travel plans amid rising COVID-19 cases, with 67 percent planning to take fewer trips, 52 percent likely to cancel existing travel plans without rescheduling, and 60 percent planning to postpone existing travel plans, according to a new national survey conducted by Morning Consult 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.