Business travel revenue for hotels in Maryland and the nation took a huge hit in 2020. The year 2021 may be even worse.
The hotel industry is projected to end 2021 down more than $59 billion in business travel revenue compared to 2019, according to a new report released Wednesday by the American Hotel & Lodging Association and Kalibri Labs. That comes after losing nearly $49 billion in business travel revenue in 2020.
In Maryland, the report projects that the hotel industry will suffer a 71% drop in business travel revenue in 2021 from 2019, from $1.25 billion to $364 million. The city of Baltimore is expected to see a 74.8% drop over that period, from $448 million to $113 million.
Business travel is a key source of revenue for hotels. As businesses have cut back on travel and relied on remote conferences and meeting, it’s a revenue source that has largely evaporated.
The hotel and hospitality industry has lobbied Congress and the federal government to create a targeted fund to provide them with relief. While the Save Hotel Jobs Act has gained bipartisan support, it has yet to gain passage or to be incorporated into larger pandemic relief packages. The industry has been able to take advantage of some of those broader relief measures, but industry advocates say more help is needed.
Nationwide, there is likely to be a 66.2% drop in business travel revenue over the two-year period, the report says. Those seeing the largest declines are the District of Columbia, 90.3%; Massachusetts, 84.8%; and New York, 82.6%.
This a major concern for most of the hotels that are on or near The “Charm’tastic Mile”. The virtual conference model is here to stay for a while. Companies are saving money on travel with reduced staff. Cities (Baltimore) will have to introduce programs that include the hotels, restaurant & museum/sports packages that make it more attractive to businesses to have more of a “Biz-stination Travel” to B-more campaigns that may lure more business travel. The business community has to step up and make changes and try to get in-line with city officials and visit associations.