WASHINGTON—The business outlook for hotels remains strong for the remainder of 2023 thanks to an uptick in business travel and a healthy preference among business and leisure travelers to stay in hotels.
According to a survey commissioned by the American Hotel & Lodging Association and conducted by Morning Consult, 68 percent of U.S. adults whose jobs involve travel said they were likely to travel overnight for business during the last three months of 2023, up from 59 percent in 2022. Hotels are the top lodging choice for 81 percent of business travelers surveyed.
The survey found that 32 percent of U.S. adults are likely to travel overnight for Thanksgiving, up from 28 percent a year earlier, while 34 percent are likely to travel overnight for Christmas, up from 31 percent last year. Meanwhile, 37 percent of U.S. adults said they were likely to travel overnight for leisure during the last three months of 2023, down slightly from 39 percent in 2022.
The survey also found that travel attitudes have largely returned to pre-pandemic norms. Seventy-one percent of U.S. adults now say their likelihood of staying in hotels is the same as before the pandemic, and nearly 70 percent of business travelers say their employers have either returned to the pre-pandemic normal or increased amounts of business travel. This is good news for hoteliers, as business travel is one of hotels’ main sources of revenue.
The survey of 4,006 adults was conducted Sept. 18-23, 2023. Other key findings include the following:
- Fifty-five percent of U.S. adults planning to travel overnight for leisure during the last three months of 2023 plan to stay in a hotel.
- Forty-five percent of U.S. adults said they are more likely to stay in a hotel this holiday season than they were last year.
- Forty-four percent of U.S. adults said they are likely to take more leisure/vacation trips this holiday season than they did last year.
- Fifty-nine percent of those planning to travel overnight for Thanksgiving plan to stay with family or friends, while 30 percent plan to stay at a hotel.
- Sixty-two percent of those planning to travel overnight for Christmas plan to stay with family or friends, while 26 percent plan to stay at a hotel.
“Hotels are going above and beyond to take excellent care of guests as travel approaches pre-COVID levels, and this survey underscores that fact,” said AHLA President and CEO Chip Rogers. “America’s nearly 62,500 hotels are a bright spot for the nation’s economy. To continue growing, they need to hire more people, but a nationwide shortage of workers is preventing hotels from regaining all the jobs we lost to the pandemic. There are a number of steps Congress can take to help address our industry’s workforce challenges. Those include establishing an H-2B returning worker exemption, passing the Asylum Seeker Work Authorization Act, and passing the H-2 Improvements to Relieve Employers (HIRE) Act.”