Industry Update
External Article 1 October 2021

IHG: ‘The desire for business travel never fully went away’

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Business travel has quietly resumed. At least that it is the opinion of Derek DeCross, senior VP of global sales for IHG Hotels & Resorts.


IHG’s groups and meetings business is the key driver, with the global pace of bookings steadily increasing between January and August of 2021. In the UK, bookings almost reached 2019 levels in June (see below). 

"The frequent headlines declaring the death of business travel are simply not true," said DeCross.

In its August earnings update, the group said that major companies are focusing on destination-driven corporate gatherings versus large-scale conferences and events. Small to medium-sized companies are back on the road too.

“Even last year – before vaccines and when travel restrictions were at their strictest – we saw small to mid-size companies begin travelling again,” said DeCross. “We observed that the desire for business travel never fully went away.”

Debbie Male, IHG's head of sales, Europe, added, “Sports and entertainment is a leading groups and meeting industry in Europe, alongside government, media and publishing. As has been the trend throughout 2021, we’re continuing to see the return of face-to-face gatherings in the corporate sector, relatively short-lead bookings, and the groups and meetings tend to be smaller gatherings compared to pre-pandemic.”

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