THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC has already cost thousands of jobs in the U.S. hospitality industry. Now a majority of American Hotel & Lodging Association members say they will be forced to lay off more employees if Congress doesn’t pass another stimulus package soon.
Of the AHLA members surveyed, 68 percent have less than half of their typical, pre-crisis staff working full time, and without further governmental assistance, 74 percent of respondents said they would be forced to lay off additional employees.
Half of the 1,000 surveyed hotel owners said that they are in danger of foreclosure by their commercial real estate debt lenders due to the pandemic. More than two-thirds of respondents, 67 percent, said they will only be able to last six more months at current projected revenue and occupancy levels absent any further relief.
“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, AHLA’s president and CEO. “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.”
AHLA created “Save Hotel Jobs” to raise awareness of the industry’s needs and to urge lawmakers to swiftly pass additional stimulus relief before departing on recess. It has resulted in more than 200,000 letters, calls, and tweets to members of Congress.
The most pressing concerns for the industry right now include access to liquidity and debt service, and liability protection, Rogers said during a conference call with business and travel leaders, hosted by the Economic Innovation Group.
“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,” said Rogers on the call. “We can’t afford to let thousands of small businesses die and all of the jobs associated with them be lost for many years.”
Last week the U.S. Travel Association released a statement also urging Congress to continue work on the stimulus legislation. The nation’s economy could lose more than $505 billion in travel spending this year, USTA said.