Dutch bank ABN AMRO: Business hotel guest returns cautiously

Although more business trips are being made, the number of business hotel nights in April was only three quarters of the level of April 2019, according to a recently published report from Dutch bank ABN AMRO. Due to online meetings, increased environmental awareness and higher costs, some business travelers are staying at home.

The total number of Dutch hotel stays, by both tourists and business guests, has fallen sharply during the corona crisis. The number of business overnight stays fell from 21 million in 2019 to 7.9 million in 2020, a decrease of 62 percent. Although the number of overnight stays by business guests showed a small plus of 6 percent in 2021 compared to 2020, the business market last year was still far from the level of 2019 (-60 percent).

Less rapidly

Even now that the main concerns about the corona virus have disappeared this year, business hotel stays are recovering significantly less quickly than tourist overnight stays. In April 2022, business hotel nights were at 73 percent of April 2019, while tourist hotel nights were well above the level of before the outbreak of the pandemic at 112 percent. In April 2019, there were 4.8 million overnight hotel stays in the Netherlands, of which 1.94 million were for business reasons. In April of this year, only 1.41 million business overnight stays were made.

Hotel stays by tourists were also slightly above the level of 2019 in October last year, while business nights remained at 61 percent at that time. Last year, business overnight stays therefore recovered more slowly than tourist overnight stays. Things look positive for the hotel industry as a whole for the foreseeable future. At the end of May, global hotel bookings are at 97 percent of 2019 levels according to the World Hotel Index.

Limiting factors

The report also questions the full recovery of business travel. During the pandemic, it has become clear that doing business remotely via video calling is a good alternative to most business travel. In addition, many events today are also hybrid, eliminating an important reason for taking a business trip. In addition, companies are increasingly committed to reducing their CO₂ emissions. One of the ways is to limit the number of business trips. The rising costs of travel also play a role. The sharp rise in fuel prices has made airline tickets and business trips by car considerably more expensive. Consumers will also want to combine their business trips with a private trip or trip to save costs. The CEO of American Airlines indicated that their research shows that the proportion of travelers who combine a private and business trip has increased from 20 to 25 percent to 50 to 55 percent.

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This article is written by

Rahanna van Stapele