U.S. hotel leisure travel revenue is projected to end 2022 14% above 2019 levels, while hotel business travel revenue is expected to come within 1% of 2019 levels, according to a new analysis from the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) and Kalibri Labs.
The projections are not adjusted for inflation, and real hotel revenue recovery will likely take several more years.
Post-pandemic recovery remains uneven, particularly in many major cities and destinations where business travel continues to lag. Among the top 50 U.S. markets, 80% are projected to see hotel leisure travel revenue exceed 2019 levels, but just 40% are expected reach that milestone for business travel revenue. Many urban markets, which rely heavily on business from events and group meetings, are still on the road to recovery.
Here are how the top 10 markets for hotel business and leisure travel revenue are projected to fare this year:
The uptick in revenue is leading to historic career opportunities for hotel employees, with more than 115,000 hotel jobs currently open across the nation. Hotels are offering potential hires a host of incentives to fill vacancies—81% have increased wages, 64% are offering greater flexibility with hours, and 35% have expanded benefits, according to a September 2022 AHLA member survey.
“The hotel industry continues its march toward recovery, but we still have a way to go before we fully get there,” said Chip Rogers, president/CEO, AHLA. “That’s why AHLA remains focused on working with members, lawmakers and stakeholders in markets that are rebounding more slowly to ensure the full return of meetings, conferences and group travel in addition to leisure and business travel. At the same time, we are continuing to grow the industry’s talent pipeline by highlighting the unprecedented career opportunities hotels are offering. Thanks to higher wages, better benefits and more flexibility and opportunities for advancement, there has never been a better time to work at a hotel.”