Lodging Association calling on Congress for help in the industry

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – The American Hotel & Lodging Association is calling on Congress to prioritize relief for hotel workers in the next stimulus package.

The April Jobs Report showed the hospitality and leisure industry was the hardest hit during the pandemic, losing 7.7 million jobs.

This year is projected to be the worst year on record for hotel occupancy, and experts estimate it will be at least 2022 before hotels return to their 2019 occupancy and revenue levels.

As for the industry rebounding, it is likely not a quick process according to Douglas Artusio, chairman and chief executive officer of Dellisart.

“The hotel business is one of the first things companies cut or personal travel gets cut. Not only because of the pandemic but because of the simple economics of these organizations that traditionally use the property. So, we are probably looking at an 18-month window in the hotel business to get back to where we were for 2019,” said Artusio.

Locally, hotels are at never before seen occupancy lows and the majority of hospitality employees have been laid off or had their jobs saved by the federal Paycheck Protection Plan but Artusio expects hotels will need more assistance in the near future.

“The things that the government can help us out with obviously, is continuing to move forward on ideas that will keep our guests safe, things that we can incorporate into our program, the PPP that exists currently is only for 8-weeks. Our business will not be solved in 8-weeks. It’s going to be considerably longer. So, the government may consider other assistance style programs,” said Artusio.

Telia Butler, Courtyard Bowling Green Director of Sales, says the industry has been shocked by the effects of COVID-19.

“For the last eight weeks or so, things have been, to be quite honest, dead around here,” said Butler.

Hotels bring revenue to cities through restaurants, gas stations, tourism and generate $186 billion in local, state and federal taxes each year.