Survey: Only 37 Percent of Hotels Have Brought Back at Least Half of Their Employees

An empty parking lot
Survey: Only 37 Percent of Hotels Have Brought Back at Least Half of Their Employees

As Congress debates a new round of COVID-19 recovery legislation, a new survey of American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) members shows that the pandemic continues to have a devastating effect on the hotel industry and its employees. Results show nearly nine in ten hotels have been forced to lay off or furlough employees due to COVID-19 and the resulting drop in travel. Four months into the crisis, only 37 percent of survey respondents report that they have been able to bring back at least half their full-time employees.

To raise awareness for hotel industry priorities, AHLA is declaring Wednesday, July 29 “Save Hotel Jobs,” a National Day of Action for hoteliers across the country to urge lawmakers to swiftly pass additional stimulus relief.  Among hotel owner respondents, more than half are in danger of foreclosure by commercial real estate lenders.

AHLA conducted the survey of hotel industry owners, operators, and employees from July 23-27, 2020, with more than 1,200 respondents. Key findings include the following:

  • 87% of hotels report being forced to lay off or furlough staff because of COVID-19
  • 36% have been unable to bring ANY of their furloughed or laid off workers back to full-time employment
  • Just 37% of hotels have been able to bring back at least half their full-time employees
  • Only one in four hotels (24%) is back to a minimum of 60% of their pre-COVID staffing levels, while less than one in three (29%) is still at or below 20% staffing
  • Of the more than 600 hotel owner respondents, more than half stated that are in danger of losing their property to foreclosure by commercial real estate lenders due to COVID-19

“It’s hard to overstate just how devastating the pandemic has been for the hotel industry. We have never seen a crisis of this magnitude,” said Chip Rogers, president and CEO of the American Hotel & Lodging Association. “We are encouraged to see many of AHLA’s industry priorities included in the Senate package released this week. We urge Congress to direct help to the industries and employees that need it the most, and to move swiftly to support them.”

Rogers urged hoteliers to immediately contact the offices of Members of Congress with calls, letters, and social media posts to ensure the industry’s top priorities are included in the next relief package passed by Congress. The most pressing concerns for the industry right now include access to increased liquidity, tax relief, and limited liability protection. 

“It is critical that Congress hear directly from hoteliers so that you get the help you need,” said Rogers. “Hotels have a presence in every congressional district in America, building strong local economies and supporting millions of jobs. 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.” 

Hoteliers can visit www.ahla.com/hotelsact to connect to their elected officials.