The media, when communicating about the prospects for airlines, aircraft manufactures, the hotels, and vendors that serve these sectors report on the return of business travel to pre-pandemic levels. But nobody knows! It’s reasonable to estimate an upcoming business travel recovery with an abstraction from what occurred after prior recessions, especially the post-financial crisis period. Advancements in telecommunication leading to widespread adoption has erected a sizeable barrier to such abstractions.
Recent hotel demand data or data from business travel spending can provide insight into the volume of guests doing business away from home. Unfortunately, the pandemic is still raising questions about data reliability and the time series are too short for extrapolation. Modeling challenges grow with reports from major corporations rethinking employee travel in attempts to reduce their carbon footprint.
This and the next editions of HOTEL CURRENTS™ present the cases for and against the complete return of business and travel based on conceptual arguments backed by research. A return of business travel to 2019 levels is difficult to foresee, but an increase in future leisure travel to replace a deficit in business travel seems plausible.
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