Hilton CEO: 'There's a huge amount of pent-up demand' — even for business travel

Close your eyes and think of one of your favorite family memories. Chances are, really good, it's off vacation. A new poll from Hilton found that nearly nine out of ten people have travel memories among their happiest. This is one of the reasons Hilton (LDS) CEO Chris Nassetta is so optimistic that travel is recovering from the pandemic.
"95% of people say they miss out on travel," Nassetta said during an interview that aired at Yahoo Finance's All Markets Summit on Monday.
Nassetta believes the surge in vacation travel in recent months is just the start of a bigger trend. “There's a lot of pent-up demand. People love to travel. You want out. Incidentally, even business trips, ”he said. “People like business travel. In some cases it is a break from the monotony of their work. "
Chris Nassetta, Hilton CEO, on the travel industry during a COVID-19 era
Chris Nassetta, CEO of Hilton, speaks to Jen Rogers, the Yahoo Finance reporter, about the changing landscape of the travel and aviation industry during the COVID-19 pandemic and how the company is dealing with the coronavirus.
After six months of restricted mobility, Hilton data shows that 94% of respondents plan to do so once the restrictions and restrictions are lifted. In fact, over 60% plan to make travel a priority and take a "bucket list" trip.
Nassetta believes it will take time, but given the trends in demand, Hilton could be back on the pre-COVID-10 growth path within a few years. He told Yahoo Finance, “I firmly believe that if you wake up in two or three years, like other crises we've been through, the demand patterns will be very similar to what they were a year ago. in two or three years. "
A masked passenger exits the plane after flying from Newark, New Jersey to Los Angeles, California on October 22, 2020. (Photo by Michael Loccisano / Getty Images)
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"Burning desire to get out"
The same work from home trends that helped raise stocks like Zoom Video (ZM) and Peloton (PTON) may actually help Hilton and other travel brands later. Nassetta sees the opportunity to work from anywhere and eventually bring more travelers to hotels. In fact, he says we're already seeing it. “People have a lot more flexibility with their time. So they put more flexibility into their time, along with a burning desire to get out and travel and a burning desire to create new memories. And that got you a whole bunch of leisure businesses, ”he said.
Nassetta travels again itself about once a week. He has just completed his first international work trip to Mexico. Without a vaccine, he believes travelers will begin to find out their own risk rewards when it comes to safe travel. “If they are young, have no pre-existing conditions, and are in very good health, I think there is enough data at this point where people say, OK, if I'm in charge I can actually start a higher level have mobility. And I think you know we will continue to I think see people look more and more at the data and make their own individual assessments. "
Ultimately, however, Nassetta believes a vaccine is needed for a full economic recovery. "I think vaccines ultimately help bring about gradual change," he said.
Check out the All Markets Summit
Jen Rogers is an anchor for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter @JenSaidIt.
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