“I may be optimistic,” he added, “but it is my hope that vaccination progress will increase dramatically over the next 60 to 90 days and that the fourth quarter and early 2022 will still be quite strong.”

Mr. Graf is among the few who believe that hybrid professional events, involving both in-person and virtual attendance, will disappear over the long run. Hybrid events “are not that efficient,” he said. “They’re more expensive and complex than if they’re just virtual or just face to face. And people have virtual fatigue.”

Peter Caputo, Deloitte’s U.S. hospitality sector leader, agreed that networking “is often invaluable” and difficult to replace by virtual means. But certain types of events, such as educational programming, can be successful online, he said.

Business travel started to return this summer. Delta Air Lines was “beginning to see a return of consulting and sales-related travel and higher…

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