By the end of 2021, hotel bookings were back to 85% of pre-pandemic levels, and a full recovery is not far off. According to Phocuswright’s latest travel research report U.S. Hotel & Lodging Market Report 2021-2025, the sector now represents 51% of all U.S. travel gross bookings.
In 2022 and beyond, the industry should benefit from an increase in business and international travel, as well as groups and meetings demand. Phocuswright projects 2022 gross bookings to rise another 18%.
Hotels still face many challenges, including the slow return of business travel and an ongoing labor shortage. For the second year in a row, occupancy was below 60% in 2021, a setback not seen since 2011, according to research firm STR. But hotels have also proved their resilience in times of crisis.
Although most indicators are positive, hotel gross bookings won't return to pre-pandemic levels until 2023. To reach this milestone many events need to occur: a waning (or controlled) pandemic, at least a 75% return of business travel, and strength in the U.S. economy.
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