Apr 26, 2022 - News

Atlanta business travel is still below pre-pandemic levels

Illustration of briefcase in an airplane seat with a safety belt on.
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The business traveler — a once-familiar sight in Atlanta's corporate hubs — is slowly returning to metro Atlanta, but not at pre-pandemic levels.

Why it matters: Atlanta is a convention hotspot, and parts of the metro region — particularly downtown — have relied on that steady stream of people to book hotel rooms, eat in restaurants and visit attractions.

Details: Nationwide leisure travel has rocketed to pre-pandemic heights, but business travel is not expected to return to 2019 levels this year. This leaves companies to gauge how COVID has affected their budgets and travel needs.

Zoom in: Atlanta hotels are projected to bring in $1.3 billion in revenue from business travelers this year. That’s $386 million less than in 2019.

Yes, but: This year, developers are constructing 42 hotels in metro Atlanta with 6,100 rooms, Bisnow reports, citing a CoStar study.

  • Another 100 projects are in the planning stages that could add 12,400 hotel rooms in the future, the real estate news service says.

Signia by Hilton Atlanta, a roughly 1,000-room hotel rising on the Georgia World Congress Center campus, is expected to finish construction in 2024.

Zoom out: San Francisco could see 69% less revenue compared to pre-pandemic days, followed by New York, Washington, D.C., and San Jose, California, also down more than 50%.

  • Las Vegas business travelers are on track to spend nearly 18% more this year on hotel lodging than they did in 2019.

Between the lines: Companies are reassessing and reprioritizing when and why employees travel, Joann Muller of Axios’ What’s Next reports.

  • Many bosses are keen to maintain the financial savings and climate benefits they saw during the pandemic when employees worked from home and corporate travel was limited.
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