Since the onset of the Coronavirus pandemic in 2020, travel, whether for leisure or business purposes, has been striving to return to pre-lockdown levels worldwide. Given that the tourism industry experienced a 65% decline in the first half of 2020, it’s no wonder everyone was looking forward to the recovery process.

Seeing how 2023 is considered the year we reached ‘our new normal’, Booking.com for Business examined how the international and domestic travel destinations rankings in the United States have changed since the pandemic. Booking.com's data has shown certain cities’ positions in the standings weren’t affected, while others either lost their spot or entered the top 20.

Our aim is not only to make business travel easier for everyone, but also to help you understand its tendencies. We obtained these numbers by looking at customers who selected they were traveling for business purposes in 2019 and compared with the same period in 2023.

Overall winners and runner-ups

In the race to reach pre-Coronavirus numbers for business travel, many cities changed places in the ranking and either grew or lost overall popularity with travelers.

Meanwhile, New York City remained at the number one spot throughout all lists. Not only that, but New York City, together with Las Vegas, sum up to 25% of the overall gross bookings of the top 20. You can also check out what other top 10 business travel destinations in the US have to offer.

How US business travel recovered after Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Some of the most notable changes are Queens and Phoenix losing their places at the top, with Charlotte and Nashville replacing them. Miami, Denver and Orlando each grew two spots, and Boston reached 11 from 12. Not only that, but Denver is the only city to recover to its 2019 gross bookings numbers in 2023.

Domestic business travel

When referring to domestic travel, we mean only the travelers from within the US to other US cities. Overall, domestic tourism in the US has increased since 2022 for both leisure and business travel. For this article, we looked more in-depth at the cities that attracted the most business travelers.

We start our list with New York City, which is here to stay in the number one spot. Not only is NYC first place on all lists (domestic and international bookings), but it’s also the only location where domestic travelers were in higher numbers than the international ones (78.6% more). Also, New York City totals almost 25% of the gross bookings alone.

Meanwhile, cities like Las Vegas, Houston, Austin and New Orleans jumped a few places in the top 20, making their mark on the corporate map of the US. The most impressive is Denver, who grew from the 20th place to the 16th.

How US business travel recovered after Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Dallas was one of the cities that lost popularity with domestic travelers, which made it slip from the top 20 for domestic travel, but reached 15th in the international ranking.

International business travel

International tourism in the US is one of the highest in the world. International arrivals spending might reach $198 billion in 2025, compared to $181 billion in 2019.

We saw significant changes in the popularity of the top 20 cities welcoming international business travelers post-Coronavirus across the map. They even had the gross bookings evenly distributed between themselves, with the first seven cities hosting more than 50% of the international travelers.

How US business travel recovered after Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Some of the cities that performed better post-Coronavirus were Nashville and Charlotte, each of which jumped three places in the top 20, while Washington and Miami grew two places.

Comparatively, Portland slipped out of the top 20, making room for Boston to be ranked.

Methodology

Statistics for this article are based on the number of gross bookings made for business purposes on the Booking.com platform, between the first six months of 2019 and the first six months of 2023 in the United States.

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