Choice Hotels welcomes return of corporate travel

By Domini Stuart | 03 Aug 2022 View comments

Leading franchise group Choice Hotels Asia Pac says corporate travel has returned, with guests seeking value for money as work trips merge into leisure. Both capital and regional cities are experiencing a major surge in corporate bookings as business travellers opt for longer stays, embrace COVID safe travel and a return to the workplace.

Properties within the Choice portfolio have seen strong growth in the first half of this year with Sydney as the most popular destination.

“Occupancy levels in Sydney continued to climb steadily through May and June and into July, and we see this trend continuing in forward bookings out to the end of the year,” said Choice Hotels CEO Trent Fraser (pictured). “Adelaide CBD is also enjoying a solid recovery, with occupancy up 67 per cent on 2021 figures.”

Longer stays

One of the key trends to emerge after COVID is a move to longer stays rather than multiple trips.  

“Corporate bookings are currently averaging five days compared with four days in 2019, which indicates that travel habits are changing,” Fraser says. “Workers are fitting more into their trips, such as taking the time to network or attend events, or taking more nights away for additional work or social engagements. They’re also tacking leisure trips on to their business trip. This has translated into 20 per cent growth on pre-pandemic lengths of stays.”

Work from home looms again

There is one possible cloud on the horizon. Following a new spike in COVID cases, people are once again being encouraged to work from home just as CBD properties are starting to recover from the restrictions of the last two years. Tony Cakmar, General Manager at the Clarion Suites Gateway, is concerned that this will have a negative effect on travellers’ confidence. 

“We have a lot of regional Victoria accounts and if they’re not coming into their city offices to work that will have a huge impact,” he said.