The American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) has released a report—produced using publicly and privately available data and polling from national and industry partners— on the hotel industry six months into the COVID-19 pandemic, with travel demand lagging far behind normal levels.
The report indicates that bookings are down 66 percent for the Labor Day weekend, and almost two-thirds (65 percent) of hotels remain at or below 50 percent occupancy, which is below the threshold at which most hotels can break even and pay debt. Urban hotels have been impacted the most with crippling low occupancy rates at 38 percent.
Consumer travel remains at all-time low, with only 33 percent of Americans reporting they have traveled overnight for leisure or vacation since March and just 38 percent saying they are likely to travel by the end of the year.
“While hotels have seen an uptick in demand during the summer compared to where we were in April, occupancy rates are nowhere near where they were a year ago. Thousands of hotels can’t afford to pay their mortgages and are facing the possibility of foreclosure and closing their doors permanently,” said Chip Rogers, president and CEO of AHLA, in a press release statement.
The major markets most negatively impacted by COVID-19 include Oahu Island, HI; Orlando, FL; Boston, MA; Miami, FL; Minneapolis, MN; Chicago, IL; Seattle, WA; New York, NY; Anaheim/Santa Ana, CA; and San Francisco/San Mateo, CA. The major markets least negatively impacted by COVID-19 include Norfolk/Virginia Beach, VA; Philadelphia, PA; Detroit, MI; Atlanta, GA; Tampa/St. Pete, FL; Phoenix, AZ; Dallas, TX; St. Louis, MO-IL; and Houston, TX.
As a result of the sharp and sustained drop in travel demand, industry leaders say hotels are now facing the harsh reality of deciding whether to close their doors permanently. “Our industry is in crisis,” said Rogers. “Thousands of hotels are in jeopardy of closing forever, and that will have a ripple effect throughout our communities for years to come.”
To view the report, visit ahla.com.