Business travel enabled Wyndham Hotels & Resorts to keep hotels open during the pandemic, according to Geoff Ballotti, CEO, speaking on a first quarter earnings call. Although the segment is only about 30% of the company’s bookings, Ballotti said that business travel is a segment that has been giving franchisees and owners “a lot more share.” He attributed the success to  “everything that we've been working on from a direct billing solution” (Wyndham Direct, introduced last August). That solution, said Ballotti, is now benefiting all negotiated accounts and franchisees and the company’s ability to attract new accounts and gain more traction from each account. In January and February, said Ballotti, midweek rates and occupancies outperformed weekends when there wasn’t a lot of leisure demand. He said business travel was down just 10% in the first quarter compared with the same period last year, while it was down 30% in the fourth quarter of 2020 compared with the same period in 2019. Executives also reported steady improvement internationally, most notably in China, where spending on travel is back to near pre-COVID levels.