Hilton bets on return of business travel

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Hilton Worldwide Holdings' first quarter 2021 results reflected the severe impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the company's business—but also suggested brighter days are ahead, thanks to vaccine rollouts and increased bookings.

Systemwide comparable revenue per available room decreased 38.4 percent year over year, and 53 percent compared to 2019.

Rising Covid-19 cases and tightening travel restrictions, particularly across Europe and Asia Pacific, weighed on demand through January and most of February, but March marked a turning point as the one-year anniversary of the lockdowns began.

For the last month of the quarter, RevPAR turned positive, improving more than 23 percent year over year. Systemwide occupancy reached 55 percent driven by strong leisure demand. 

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