Host Hotels & Resorts is seeing some "relative improvement" in bookings, although lodging demand remains below earlier-year levels, said Ed Walter, the firm's president and CEO. "We have seen some encouraging trends," he said. "One is the fact that the transient business picked up this summer." Group business bookings for the end of the year and next year are up but remain below pre-downturn levels, he said. "The gap is declining," Walter said.