BOSTON (SHNS) – More than six months into the COVID-19 pandemic, the American hotel industry “remains on the brink of collapse” with thousands of hotels at risk of closing permanently, the American Hotel and Lodging Association warned in a Monday report.
Citing national figures, the industry group said that nearly two out of three hotels have not seen occupancy rates recover in August to greater than 50 percent — the threshold most need to break even. Average occupancy rates dropped to about 25 percent in April.
The leisure and hospitality industry has been one of the hardest hit among the pandemic, with government-ordered shutdowns of many businesses and consumers hesitant to travel amid health risks. The AHLA said that accommodation jobs have not seen an uptick mirroring that on the restaurant side.
Despite gaining back about half of the jobs lost in April, the industry is still about 4.3 million jobs below its February employment levels.
Boston ranked third on the group’s list of major urban markets most negatively affected by COVID-19, with the average hotel occupancy rate dropping from 87 percent in the week of Aug. 9 to Aug. 15, 2019, to only 32 percent in the week of Aug. 9 to Aug. 15, 2020.
Industry leaders plan to push for an extension of the Paycheck Protection Program and additional relief funds aimed at hotels, AHLA said.
“Our industry is in crisis. Thousands of hotels are in jeopardy of closing forever, and that will have a ripple effect throughout our communities for years to come,” AHLA President Chip Rogers said in a press release. “We need help urgently to keep hotels open so that our industry and our employees can survive and recover from this public health crisis.”