AHLA Data Shows 70 Percent of Hotel Employees Laid Off or Furloughed

May 4, 2020

As much as we’re all hungering for good news right now, the staggering numbers reporting the severity of the COVID-19 crisis for the hotel industry can’t be spun in a positive light.

New data from the American Hotel & Lodging Association shows that 70 percent of hotel employees have been laid off or furloughed, as eight in 10 hotel rooms across the country remain empty. This puts the impact of COVID-19 on the travel industry at nine times worse than 9/11, with forecasted occupancy rates for this year hitting record lows worse than rates from 1993 during the Great Depression.

“The human toll of this public health crisis has been absolutely devastating for the hotel industry…. Our priority is rehiring and retaining our hardworking employees who power our vibrant industry,” said Chip Rogers, president and CEO of AHLA.

He continued, “Hotels were one of the first industries affected by the pandemic and will be one of the last to recover. The CARES Act was an important first step… but we need Congress to make important changes to the program to reflect the current economic reality and help the employees in the industries that have been impacted the most.”

Occupancy rates

While some properties have remained in operation during the pandemic, they are operating with minimal staffing. AHLA reports that on average, full-service hotels are using 14 employees to keep things running, down from 50 employees before the crisis. Resort hotels (which often operate seasonally based on geographic location) are down to five employees per resort per day, down from about 90 per day in mid-March.

The AHLA report states that $2.4 billion has been lost in weekly wages due to the crisis (citing data from Oxford Economics and Hotel Effectiveness), and nearly 3.9 million total hotel-supported jobs have been lost.

“The hotel industry is at a critical juncture. We need more resources to survive this unprecedented time,” said Rogers. “Additional funding is vital for small business owners across America, including tens of thousands of small business hoteliers, to help them keep their doors open and rehire and retain millions of employees.”

See a fact sheet with stats from the full report here.

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