2020 was rough for the hotel and the travel industry. In the last two weeks, things improved as occupancy levels are at its best since the pandemic started.
Wyndham CEO Sees Improvement
According to Geoff Ballotti, CEO of Wyndham Hotels and Resorts, “these last two weeks… have been the highest two weeks of occupancy in our industry since last March”. He claims that it is “now back to 85% of where they were in 2019”.
Wyndham Hotels and Resorts consists of brands including AmericInn, Super 8, Hawthorn Suites, Days Inn, and Ramada.
Not Deterred By Competition
Hotels are not the only ones that are enjoying the latest surge in travel. Vacation rental apps such as Airbnb and Expedia’s VRBO are both enjoying recovery. Airbnb shares are up by 20% this year after a successful 2020 IPO. On the other hand, Expedia also soared by 30%. VRBO president Jeff Hurst said that “We’ve had a phenomenal recovery”. He also added that there could be a “real boom period for leisure travel”.
Hurst believes that “people will start booking more flights and hotels and resorts will have a big comeback”
The Wyndham CEO said that he isn’t bothered by the popularity of competitors like Airbnb. He believes that the hotel has a different market. He said that they “appeal to families who are out on the road” and “everyday business traveler”. He also pointed out that blue-collar workers usually don’t use vacation rentals if they are booking short term reservations. Balloti said that the average stay in Wyndham’s hotels average less than two nights.
Balloti also gave his take on vaccine passports. He said that there should be a “uniform digital health credential on testing”. With a uniformed approach in vaccine passports, he believes that it can make travel easier and safer.
Despite CDC’s plea to the American public to limit travel to just the essential, people are now traveling again. This recent rebound in travel could be explained by the vaccine rollout plus the $1.9 trillion stimulus this month that helped businesses stay afloat.
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