Less than 40% of US hotels have brought back half of furloughed staff, new survey shows

Coronavirus layoffs continue to devastate US hotel industry, American Hotel & Lodging Association members say

Rosen Plaza

The tourism industry continues to be among the hardest hit by coronavirus closures around the world and according to a new survey released Wednesday by the American Hotel and Lodging Association, a majority of U.S. hotels have yet to hire back furloughed staff.

A survey conducted by the industry association that represents all of the U.S. lodging industry shows that 36% of hotels have not yet brought back any of their furloughed or laid off staff to full-time employment. Nearly 87% hotels furloughed employees due to COVID-19 travel impacts, according to the AHLA.

The survey was conducted with more than 1,200 hotels across the U.S.

Over a period of four months, 37% of hotels have been able to bring back at least half of their full-time employees, according to the survey.

Hundreds of hotel owners report they are in danger of losing their property to foreclosure due to the coronavirus, according to the AHLA.

The industry group is asking Congress to provide relief for the tourism industry and the workers impacted. AHLA CEO Chip Rogers is asking hoteliers to contact their representatives to ask that the industry’s priorities are included in the tax relief package.

“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,” Rogers said in a statement. “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.”

In Central Florida, the closure of theme parks including Universal Orlando and Walt Disney World Resort in March resulted in historic losses to tax dollars collected from hotel stays in Orange County known as the tourism development tax or hotel bed tax.

May 2020 TDT collection saw a 95% decrease from the year prior and a slight increase from the previous month’s “extremely low level” of collection, which was a 97% drop compared to April 2019, according to a report from the county.

June TDT numbers will be released in early August.

Orlando-based Rosen Hotels and Resorts announced “substantial” layoffs in July across multiple locations due to the global pandemic.

“Never in the 46-year history of my company would I have envisioned such a drastic decision,” President and COO Harris Rosen said in a July 8 statement. “This is especially painful for me, as I consider these valued associates as extended members of the Rosen family, without whose contributions our company would never have achieved the success it has through the years.”