Both Hyatt and Marriott reported positive signs for group travel on their fourth quarter earnings calls. Mark Hoplamazian, Hyatt’s CEO, said he was “really pleased if not surprised” to see “some interesting and very positive data in group activity.” He said the company sees early signs that it will “actually host” corporate meetings as early as the second quarter of 2021. From the start of the fourth quarter through January, Hyatt reported booking roughly $170 million in new group business for future months, excluding any rebooking activity. According to Hoplamazian, that sum represented a 20% increase in new group bookings over the third quarter. “We had previously been saying that the sequence [of recovery] would be leisure transient, followed by business transient, followed by group, and I think that the potential surprise in that progression is that we might see group come back in a more purposeful way, in a more significant way,” said Hoplamazian. On the Marriott call, the first since the death of CEO Arne Sorenson earlier this week, Stephanie Linnartz, group president for consumer operations, technology and emerging businesses, reported that January had turned out to be “a very strong month” for group bookings for 2022 and beyond. Notably, that month’s group business was booked at an average daily rate that was 11% higher than group business booked in January 2020 for stays in 2021 and beyond. Linnartz said Marriott is also seeing some positive trends related to group cancellations, adding, “they've really slowed for the second half of 2021.”