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The American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) recently published a report and a state-by-state breakdown of job loss that indicate the hotel industry’s recovery might not be as clear-cut as the return of leisure travel.

The report predicted that hotel room revenue will drop $44 billion this year compared to 2019’s pre-pandemic levels, with occupancy down ten percent. While leisure travel is picking up, business travel, which generates the largest source of revenue for the hospitality industry, could take until as late as 2024 to recover fully.


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The study also found a large gap in employment, with one in five of the jobs relating to direct hotel operations that had been lost during the pandemic not returning by the end of the year. The number, almost 500,000, reveals a staggering worker shortage.

It could take years for the domestic hotel industry to return. This week, the AHLA and the Asian American Hotel Owners Association are hosting a Virtual Action Summit to meet with members of Congress, calling for aid to expand the Employee Tax Retention Credit, establish fair per diem rates and pass the Save Hotel Jobs Act, which focuses on giving payroll grants to hotels and offering tax cuts on things like required personal protective equipment.

“Despite an uptick in leisure travel, midway through 2021 we’re still seeing that the road to a full recovery for America’s hotels is long and uneven. These findings show the economic devastation still facing hotel markets and underscore the need for targeted relief from Congress for hotel workers and small businesses,” said Chip Rogers, president and CEO of AHLA.

Chip Rogers, President/CEO, American Hotel & Lodging Association
Chip Rogers, President/CEO, American Hotel & Lodging Association (Photo via American Hotel & Lodging Association)

“Hotels and their employees have displayed extraordinary resilience in the face of unprecedented economic challenges, but whether it’s the Save Hotel Jobs Act, fair per diem rates, or expanding the aperture on the Employee Retention Tax Credit, we need Congress’ help on the way to a full recovery. That’s why the industry is united behind our Virtual Action Summit,” Rogers said.

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