The most important story in hotels in 2021
01/07/2022|7:11:30 PM|Skift

Even the travel industry’s biggest skeptics must marvel at how major hotel companies this year went from a couple billion in the red to profitability in a matter of months.

All the major hotel conglomerates, from hard-hit Accor to Marriott, vaulted into profitability by the summer. It was a huge win and major change in the narrative for a sector that hit rock bottom the prior year. 

But hotel companies recognized that to better prepare for the next catastrophe, they must find more durable revenue streams. This means a shift away from the kind of business traveler hotel companies typically compete for as well as an embrace of local customers. 

Hilton CEO Christopher Nassetta indicated the company was putting even more focus on so-called road warriors, business travelers who work for small- and medium-sized companies that typically stayed on the move during the pandemic. Companies like Choice Hotels and Wyndham, which returned to profitability before Hilton, already cater to these type of business travelers.

Roughly 80 percent of Hilton’s business travel demand came from smaller businesses before the pandemic, but Nassetta said he aimed to grow that to 90 percent. That makes sense given how larger companies continue to push back their return to the office and have been hesitant to green light a massive return to work travel. 

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