New York, NY, September 20, 2022-“More than two years after the pandemic grounded group travel, hotels are finally selling blocks of rooms,” reports the Wall Street Journal. “Bookings for corporate events, conferences and large social gatherings such as weddings and reunions started picking up steam this spring and have accelerated for many hotels and resorts through the summer, analysts and hotel owners said.
“Earlier this year, as group travel started picking up, many companies scheduled smaller gatherings with employees or clients than they had before the pandemic. As concerns about Covid-19 infections have waned, the guest lists have grown, said Linda McNairy, a vice president for American Express Global Business Travel’s meetings and events division.
“Companies are also catching up on so-called incentive trips, organized to reward top-performing employees with luxury stays in destinations such as Hawaii, she said.
“The average daily room rate for group bookings last month surpassed prepandemic prices at nearly $204, according to preliminary figures from hotel data and analytics firm STR. Group revenue per available room, a key metric for the industry, was only 3.4% below 2019 levels last month, STR said.
“In a reversal from prior economic recoveries, group travel is rebounding than individual business trips, Truist Securities analyst C. Patrick Scholes said. Videoconferencing, remote work and growing concern over the environmental impact of flying likely means companies and their employees are being more selective about solo travel, he said.
“’Things are going better than we could have imagined,’ said Peter Strebel, chairman of Omni Hotels & Resorts, which has 50 properties across North America and specializes in group business and leisure travel. ‘We were on hold for two years, and people are anxious to get back to business.’”