Recovery for the hotel industry? That might take a long time, according to a new report from the American Hotel & Lodging Association.
According to the report, 21 of the top 25 U.S. hotel markets remain in a depression or recession. The report also says that urban hotels remain in what the American Hotel & Lodging Association calls a depression cycle while the overall U.S. hotel industry remains in what it refers to as a recession market.
The COVID-19 pandemic, of course, is to blame. The hotel industry basically shut down in March of 2020 and has been struggling to recover since. There has been a rise in leisure traffic as vaccines have become available. But business travel is still severely curtailed as many companies remain in work-from-home mode.
As the lodging association’s report says, urban markets rely heavily on business from events and group meetings. Because of this, they have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic. The asociation says that urban hotels were down 52 percent in room revenue in May when compared to the same month a year earlier.
The association points to New York City as an example. The city has seen one-third of its hotel rooms wiped out by the COVID-19 pandemic, with nearly 200 hotels in New York City having gone out of business.
The lodging association says that the rise in leisure travel this summer is an encouraging sign for the hotel industry. Business and group travel remains sluggish, though. The association does not expect business travel to return to 2019 levels until 2023 or 2024. Major conventions and business meetings have also already been canceled or postponed until at least 2022.
“While some industries are starting to rebound as COVID-19 restrictions ease across the country, the U.S. hotel industry is still in a recession, with the hardest hit markets in a depression,” said Chip Rogers, president and chief executive officer of the American Hotel & Lodging Association, in a written statement.
“While many other hard-hit industries have received targeted federal relief, the hotel industry has not. We need Congress to pass the bipartisan Save Hotel Jobs Act so hotels in the hardest hit regions, especially urban markets, can retain and rehire employees until travel demand, especially business travel, comes back to pre-pandemic levels.”
The American Hotel & Lodging Association and UNITE HERE, a hospitality workers’ union serving North America, have joined forces to lobby Congress to pass the bipartisan Save Hotel Jobs Act introduced by Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) and Rep. Charlie Crist (D-Fla.). This legislation would provide financial assistance to hotel workers.