The hotel industry has found itself facing one of its most significant challenges to date, as the COVID-19 pandemic rages on. Now, those within the hospitality sector say unless additional funding comes in from the government, hotels will be facing massive rounds of layoffs.
A survey conducted by the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) found that 68 percent of hotels are operating with half of their regular staff working full time—and without further governmental assistance, 74 percent said they would be forced to lay off even more employees.
The survey, conducted this month, included responses from more than 1,000 owners, operators, and employees. The research found that half of the hotel owners say they are in danger of foreclosure due to COVID-19, with 67 percent saying they would only be able to operate for six more months at the current occupancy levels without further aid.
"It's time for Congress to put politics aside and prioritize the many businesses and employees in the hardest-hit industries. Hotels are cornerstones of the communities they serve, building strong local economies and supporting millions of jobs," said Chip Rogers, president and CEO of the American Hotel & Lodging Association. "Every member of Congress needs to hear from us about the urgent need for additional support so that we can keep our doors open and bring back our employees."
This week, StockApps.com put the dire situation in further perspective, as they unveiled data showing that the largest hotel companies in the world—Wyndham Hotels and Resorts, Choice Hotels International, Marriott International, Intercontinental Hotels Group, and Hilton Worldwide Holdings—have lost a combined $25.2 billion market cap since the start of this year.
To raise awareness of the crisis facing hoteliers, the AHLA has launched a grassroots campaign titled "Save Hotel Jobs," an initiative to urge hotel operators across the country to contact local lawmakers to pass urgently needed stimulus relief before departing on recess. The ongoing effort has already resulted in over 200,000 letters, calls, and tweets to members of Congress, though there is still more work to be done.
"These are real numbers, millions of jobs, and the livelihoods of people who have built their small business for decades, just withering away because Congress has done nothing," Rogers continued. "We can't afford to let thousands of small businesses die, and all of the jobs associated with them be lost for many years."
Rogers further expressed his concerns on a call with White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, followed by a conference call for business and travel leaders, hosted by the Economic Innovation Group. The call focused on the most significant concerns facing the industry, including access to liquidity and debt service and liability protection.
Hoteliers can visit hotelsact.org to connect to their elected officials.
American Hotel & Lodging Association. "AHLA Front Desk Feedback Survey of Hotels on Financial Crisis."
StockApps.com. "World's Five Largest Hotel Chains Lost $25.2bn in Market Cap Amid Coronavirus Crisis." Sept. 23, 2020