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WSJ CEO COUNCIL: Marriott Sees Slow Return Of Business Travel

Posted on November 18, 2009 by LCT Staff - Also by this author - About the author

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Companies are slowly starting to loosen the purse strings on corporate travel, according to J.W. Marriott Jr., chairman and CEO of Marriott International Inc.

Speaking on the sidelines of the WSJ CEO Council, Marriott said: "Business travel seems to be coming back slowly," as companies "come out of the bunker" to hold meetings and visit customers.

Leisure travelers responded to bargain rates over the summer, but Marriott says it will be "quite some time" until the hotel chain can get back to the peak rate charges in 2007. Consumers are wary of unemployment, he said, and overwhelmed with uncertainty stemming from federal legislation such as health- care overhaul efforts.

"There's going to have to be a lot of uncertainty taken out of the economy," Marriott said. "The government is going to have to back off these programs that are causing the uncertainty."

Marriott also said the hotel company will restore some corporate bonuses this year after not paying them out in 2008.

Nearly 100 chief executives are attending the annual WSJ CEO Council meeting Monday and Tuesday in the nation's capital to discuss business and political issues, and meet with top policymakers.

Source: Dow Jones News

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