Business for Wyndham Hotels & Resorts is absolutely stronger than pre-Covid, CEO says – CNBC

The CEO of Wyndham Hotels & Resorts told CNBC on Thursday that strong travel demand in the U.S. has helped the company shake off its pandemic-related slowdown.

While some industries have had trouble bouncing back after Covid pandemic disruptions, business at Wyndham is “absolutely stronger than before the pandemic,” CEO Geoff Ballotti said in an interview on “The Exchange.”

“The intent to travel, to get into your car and drive some place and get out of your attic, get out of your basement, with your family and friends is spectacular,” Ballotti said. “It’s off the charts, it’s unprecedented, and I think we’re going to continue to see that into the fall.”

Wyndham’s hotel brands include Days Inn, La Quinta and Baymont. Business for the hotel franchisor is not only picking up at its U.S. hotels, but internationally too as the number of outgoing flights slowly bounce back. “We’re seeing international airlift continue to increase to destinations like Mexico, where we have a new Wyndham Alltra Cancun and a new Wynhdam Alltra Playa Del Carmen,” Ballotti said.

“People are looking to get away and have a safe and a very flexible and easy vacation, and that’s what we’re seeing,” Ballotti said.

Business travel is coming back at a slower pace than leisure travel, according to the CEO. “Big cities like San Francisco are now just beginning to pick up, it’s those group meeting urban destinations that have been lagging.”

Despite the lag in business travel, Ballotti and other hotel CEOs expect to get a lift beginning next month as the Biden administration lifts international travel restrictions on Nov. 8 that were imposed last year in the early days of the Covid pandemic.

“We think there will be certainly increasing demand in the United States of America. … One thing we need to see pick up is visa applications, we need emergency funding for those visas to be processed,” Ballotti said.

In the U.S., cities like Boston, New York, and San Francisco will continue to see an influx and increase in business and leisure travel for the rest of the year, “which is great news for the travel industry,” according to Ballotti.

Wyndham beat Wall Street expectations in its quarterly results Thursday and raised guidance for the rest of the year. The stock closed up 4.33% Thursday afternoon and trading at $85.84 a share.

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