NEW YORK — Braemar Hotels & Resorts CEO Richard Stockton is confident that the back half of 2022 will fill up with events since group business is coming back “like wildfire” across the hotel industry.
Speaking with Hotel News Now during the 2022 NYU International Hospitality Industry Investment Conference, Stockton said demand for group bookings across his portfolio has been ramping up. Up until a few months ago, a majority of bookings were coming from social groups, but now corporate business is being added to the mix.
In comparison to 2019, “we’re at, for the year, single-digits down on group pace. The back half of the year is very, very strong,” he said.
Stockton said Braemar began the first quarter of 2022 with 30% occupancy at its urban properties. By the end of the quarter, those properties were running at more than 60% occupancy.
The return “is happening, it’s there,” he added, in part due to fewer COVID-19 testing requirements and mask mandates.
“People don’t want to…