The hospitality industry is adapting to a post-pandemic world defined by remote working, virtual meetings, mobile accessibility, and new concerns about health and safety.
The hospitality industry’s main goal is to provide an enjoyable experience to customers. It’s the hotels, restaurants and bars, airlines, and travel agencies that focus on ensuring you’re having a great time.
The hospitality industry is a key contributor to both national and international economies worldwide—let’s take a look at the statistics and trends defining it right now.
The international hospitality industry at a glance
These are the can’t-miss stats outlining the state of the hospitality industry heading into 2023.
- The market size of the global travel market and hospitality industry for 2021 was $3953 billion (TheBusinessResearchCompany).
- Asia Pacific is the largest market for hospitality, accounting for 42% of the global market (TheBusinessResearchCompany).
- In 2021 the United States led global spending on corporate travel with a bill of $323 billion (World Bank).
- Global tourism reached 415 million tourists worldwide in 2021, compared to 400 million in 2020, and 1.4 billion in 2019 (UNWTO).
- Travel and tourism's direct contribution to global GDP was approximately 4.7 trillion USD in 2020 (Statista).
- Global download of travel apps decreased by 36% in 2020 compared to 2019, but are back up by 27% in 2021 (Adjust).
Important accommodation and hotel industry statistics
Accommodation is a key part of the hospitality industry, and priorities are shifting when it comes to the consumer’s ideal stay. Take a look at these stats for a better look at what consumers want.
- In 2021, Airbnb listings worldwide generated $48.9 billion in gross revenue, up 76.6% from 2020 when Airbnb listings generated $27.7 billion in gross revenue (All the Rooms).
- 356.9 million nights were booked on Airbnb during 2021. This is an increase from 2020, when a total of 251.1 million nights were booked (All the Rooms).
- The hotel market in the United States for 2020 was valued at approximately 93.07 billion USD, compared to 2019’s total of 210.74 billion USD (Statista).
- Hilton Hotels & Resorts was the most valuable global hotel brand in 2020, with a brand value of 10.83 billion USD (Statista).
- The sales revenue of Hilton worldwide in 2020 was 4.3 billion USD (Statista).
- During January 2022, the average daily rate of US hotels was only 2% lower than 2019’s comparisons, at 125.06 USD (TravelPulse).
- Hotel occupancy rate for January reached nearly 50% in the US in 2020, only 12.2% less than the same period in 2019 (TravelPulse).
- 59% of US business travelers surveyed always make hotel bookings themselves and 30% usually book their hotel themselves (Statista).
- While desktop bookings are still the go-to way to book, 79% of corporate travelers have completed a business trip booking on their mobile device (LCT).
- Luxury hotels performed the worst during the pandemic, with only 21% occupancy in December 2020 compared to 68% in December 2019 (US Travel Association).
- Economy hotel chains instead performed more consistently with 45% occupancy in December 2020 compared to 48% in December 2019 (US Travel Association).
- The largest hotel company in the world, in number of properties, is Wyndham Hotel Group, with over 9,200 hotels as of June 2020. Marriott International is the second-largest, with over 7,600 properties, and Choice Hotels International comes in third with over 7100 hotels (HotelTechReport).
Check out these transportation statistics
It’s crucial to understand the state of the transportation and travel industry, as it heavily impacts the rest of the hospitality industry.
Take a look at how the travel industry is doing.
- According to the Bureau of Transportation Services, in January 2022 there were 528,070 domestically operated flights in the US, this is 85% of the number of flights operated in pre-pandemic January 2019. This is an increase from the 375,229 flights operated in January 2021 (BTS).
- The decline in air passenger transport in 2020 was the largest recorded since 1950, when we started to track global travel (IATA).
- As a result of the pandemic, domestic air travel markets became more resilient than international travel markets. In fact, China’s domestic flights were 20% of the global share in 2020, compared to only 10% in 2019 (IATA).
- By January 2021, the share value of prominent cruise companies, like Royal Caribbean and Norwegian Cruises, had dropped by 60% (CNBC).
- Travel spending totaled $679 billion in 2020, an unprecedented 42% annual decline (equating to nearly $500 billion) from 2019 (US Travel Association).
- Since March 2020 and through the end of the year, the pandemic has resulted in $492 billion in cumulative losses for the US travel economy–that’s a daily loss of approximately $1.6 billion for the past 10 months (US Travel Association).
- Road travel reached a pandemic low of 72% year on year decline in early April of 2021, but then improved through the summer, resulting in declines of around 20%, and had its strongest pandemic performance over the Labor Day holiday with a decline of just 5% (US Travel Association).
- The global rail tourism market is expected to grow from $227.21 billion in 2021 to $251 billion in 2022 (PRN News).
Business travel looks a little different now
Remote working has opened a new opportunity for people to travel–wherever they go, they can take their office with them. Additionally, despite online events booming in 2020, people are ready for some irreplaceable human interaction again.
Let’s take a look at key statistics of business travel and how these indicate a deep–and seemingly lasting–change in the industry.
- The average US business trips costs $1293 (TravelPerk).
- About 30% of job seekers are ready to accept lower-paid jobs if they include business trips (Small Biz Geniuz).
- Despite business travelers typically making up just 12% of all flyers, they are twice as profitable to airlines since they are loyal and use frequent flier programs, buy amenities like extra legroom, and also book more flights with less notice (Time).
- From 2020 to 2027, the global market for business travel is expected to reach a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 3% (Report Linker).
- For every $1 spent on business travel arrangements, an average of $12.50 is estimated to be recuperated in revenue (TravelPerk).
- Corporate travelers said that their most important consideration in booking airline tickets after the pandemic is flexibility in cancellation and changing ticket conditions (70%), followed by special measures to ensure onboard hygiene (63%) and availability of direct flights (61%) (McKinsey).
- In 2022, the majority of companies use automated digital expense reporting as part of their travel policy, and 55% of corporate travelers expect to go on completely cashless trips within the next decade (Stratos Jets).
Employment in hospitality is shifting
The hospitality industry employs millions of people directly and indirectly–here’s how things are looking as of 2022.
- The hospitality sector could create 58 million jobs in 2022 to reach more than 330 million, just 1% below pre-pandemic (Sommet Education).
- Before the pandemic hit, hospitality–including its direct, indirect, and induced impacts–accounted for 1 in 4 of all new jobs created across the world (WTTC).
- According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, hospitality unemployment rates decreased from a 6.7% in December 2021, to a 5.9% in March 2022 (BLS).
- 73% of survey respondents in November 2020, stated that frontline hospitality service providers (i.e. flight attendants, travel agents, and hoteliers) were greatly affected by layoffs or furloughs due to the pandemic (Statista).
- In April 2020 there were 48% of job losses in the hospitality industry compared to February 2020. However, there was only a loss of 10% in January 2022 (US Travel Association).
Millennials are an important demographic to pay attention to
Millennials are a key player in the hospitality industry. About 65% of millennials consider business travel a sign of status and tangible proof of their importance to the company.
Since millennials are becoming the main players in the world’s workforce, it’s important to pay attention to what they do.
- 66% of millennials book their trips using a smartphone while 74% use their mobile for travel-related research (Condor Ferries).
- 74% of millennial travelers have stayed in a rental property while on a business trip compared to 38% of Generation X travelers and 20% of baby boomers. 44% of millennials stated they preferred staying in Airbnb-style rentals while traveling for work (Hipmunk).
- 43% of millennials have extended their business travel trip for leisure (Statista).
- 78% of millennials have purposefully carved out personal time during a business trip (Forbes).
- 97% of millennials will share their travel experience on social media (The Wandering RV).
Ecotourism and sustainability are now a major concern for travelers
More and more people are becoming conscious of the importance of protecting the environment—and hospitality is having to respond to demands for greener alternatives.
- In 2021, 83% of global travelers think that sustainability is vital, with 61% saying that the pandemic inspired them to travel more sustainably (GSTCouncil).
- However, 49% of travelers still believe there aren’t enough sustainable options available (GSTCouncil).
- 83% of travelers want to decrease their energy consumption, 79% want to use more environmentally friendly transportation, 76% would like to lower their water usage, and 69% want to reduce the carbon footprint of their vacation (Avantio).
- Nearly 50% of passengers now find reducing their carbon emissions and sustainability more important than they did before COVID-19 (GlobalData).
- Travelers also seek alternative destinations to help reduce overcrowding (48%) and visiting during peak times (51%) (Custard).
- More than two-thirds (69%) of travelers expect to have the choice of a sustainable travel option (Custard).
How is the US hospitality industry doing?
The hotel and lodging industry is one of the most important drivers of economic growth in the US. Big names in the industry like Expedia, Booking.com, Airbnb, and even Disney Amusement parks all originated in the US.
Here are some interesting stats relating to US the hospitality industry you don’t want to miss.
- As of January 2021, half of American travelers indicated they are excited about travel in the near term and 55% of American travelers are in a ready to travel state-of-mind (US Travel Association).
- Domestic flights within the US are increasing in cost, with roundtrips averaging around $330 compared to $235 at the start of 2022 (Travel Pulse).
- In a 2019 survey, New York City took the top spot for the most expensive city for corporate travel, with per diem spending averaging $799 (ECA International).
- In the US, hotels and lodging businesses generate $167 billion in federal, state, and local taxes (AHLA).
- Each year in the US, 19% of leisure travelers will board a first-class flight, compared with 20% of business travelers (Statista and Statista).
- US total travel spending is forecast to reach 99% of pre-pandemic levels by 2023, and increase to 105% in 2024 (US Travel Association).
- The total number of trips in 2024 is expected to reach 2.47 billion–seeing an increase from 2.40 billion in 2019 (US Travel Association).
- Business trips are only expected to reach pre-pandemic levels in 2025 (US Travel Association).
What about UK-specific hospitality stats and trends?
According to the House of Commons, the hospitality sector contributed up to £59.3 billion in Gross Value Added to the country’s economy—around 3% of the overall UK economic output—in 2019.
Here are some of the key hospitality numbers in the UK-specific market.
- It’s estimated that a total of £114.8 billion in sales have been lost between March 2020 and December 2021 in the hospitality industry (UKH).
- There was a 138% increase in delivery and takeaway sales between January 2022 and January 2019 (UKH).
- The UK saw 1.3 million tourists touchdown in Q3 2021, which was 86% below Q3 2019 (VisitBritain).
- Visitors coming to the UK spent £1.2 billion on their visits in Q3 2021, that’s 87% less compared to 2019 (ONS).
- UK residents made 6.1 million visits abroad by air in Q3 2021, and spent £4.9 billion abroad, a decrease of 76% and 78% respectively from 2019 (ONS).
- 580 billion passenger kilometers were traveled in the UK in 2020, that’s down 33% from 2019 after a long-term growth seen since 1960 (UKGov).
- The accommodation and food services industry grew 8.6% in February 2022, with the main driver for growth being accommodation which grew by 23% compared to December 2021 (ONS).
How COVID-19 has impacted the hospitality industry
Travelers, hoteliers, and managers are adapting to the changes that COVID-19 has made to the industry.
These changes include more online bookings, the increased importance of mobile accessibility, new remote working possibilities, new tech in the industry, and other key changes that give a fresh new look to an old age industry.
Safety first approach for hotels and airplanes
Travelers want to feel safe undergoing post-pandemic travel. They want a contactless experience that complies with social distancing measurements, as well as increased attention to hygiene in hotel rooms, airplanes, and restaurants.
In fact, 66% of travelers also worry about maintaining social distancing through spacious seating on flights. Putting these worries to rest is key for the future of the hospitality and travel industry.
User experience and flexibility are now more important
Being able to quickly reach providers is the top concern of 70% of travelers. Plus, over 50% of business travelers said that travel restrictions put them off booking arrangements for fear of not having them refunded.
These trends indicate that travel managers and providers will need to provide better assistance and more flexible cancellation policies, in order to attract and maintain customers.
Scheduling will be different
Travel planning windows are becoming shorter. Travelers will look for tickets and accommodation closer to the date of departure than they did pre-pandemic.
Our data reveals that searches for trips less than 6 days away are now almost equal to searches for trips between 7 and 30 days away. Before the pandemic, the vast majority of trips were searched for and planned 7 to 30 days in advance.
‘Bleisure’ is the next big trend in hospitality
Thanks to remote working more people are traveling for bleisure—business trips that turn into leisure trips. According to a report by Future Market Insights, the bleisure tourism market is expected to reach a valuation of $ 497.5 billion in 2022, with sales growing at an impressive 19.5% CAGR over the assessment period.
Taking bleisure into account when establishing travel policies is key for the harmony of this new type of travel. In fact, 57% of companies allow employees to extend business trips as part of their policies.
Wrapping up on hospitality statistics and industry trends
The hospitality sector focuses on giving customers what they want—understanding these wants is key to success.
These up-to-date trends and statistics highlight the current state of the hospitality industry, as well as some of the key areas for consideration in upcoming years.
Whether it’s new technologies, streamlined upgrades, or simply more available rooms—the hospitality industry must adapt to consumers' evolving wants and needs.
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