Throughout the summer months, hoteliers held out hope that as the historically strong wave of leisure travel waned and seasons shifted, a long-awaited business travel rebound would be there to fill the gap.
But if early impressions from The Lodging Conference are to be believed, business travel demand will remain subdued longer than hoped.
Speaking during the "A View from the Top" panel Tuesday morning, Aimbridge President and CEO Michael Deitemeyer admitted his expectations have been scaled back somewhat, while uttering the favorite phrase of hoteliers around the globe.
"Business travel is coming back much slower," he said. "I was optimistic that post-Labor Day it would happen, and it really hasn't tipped at all. ... I'm cautiously optimistic that we push through this with leisure continuing to help the pace. Even though it's softened a little bit, it's still ahead of what it was in 2019."
The Lodging Conference itself isn't dealing with a lag in demand, as conference organizers said a record crowd was in attendance at the JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge.