COVID-19 has thrown the commercial real estate industry into turmoil. But there’s one sector that the virus devastated almost immediately, hotels.
The latest research from the American Hotel & Lodging Association details the struggles of the hospitality industry since shelter-in-place orders were enacted across the country. According to numbers released April 23, 70 percent of hotel employees have been laid off or furloughed because of the pandemic.
The survey found, too, that eight in 10 hotel rooms across the United States today remain empty.
To put this into perspecive, the lodging association says that the impact of COVID-19 on the travel industry is nine times worse than what hotel operators faced after 9/11. The association forecasts that occupancy rates for 2020 will hit record lows worse than what the industry saw in 1933, the height of the Great Depression.
“The human toll of this public health crisis has been absolutely devasting for the hotel industry,” said Chip Rogers, president and chief executive officer of the American Hotel & Lodging Association. “Hotels were one of the first industries affected by the pandemic and will be one of the last to recover.”
Rogers called on Congress to make changes to the CARES Act to reflec the current economic reality and to help employees in those industries that have been most impacted by the virus.
The association reported that those hotels that remain open are operating with minimal staffing. On average, full-service hotels are using 14 employees, down from 50 before the crisis. Resort hotels averaged about 90 employees at every location as recently as March 13. They are down to an average of five employees for every resort today.