Hotels hit hard in coronavirus pandemic, lose $2B in weekly wages

Eight of 10 hotel rooms remain empty nationwide

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The coronavirus pandemic has all but stopped leisure travel as Americans are mostly staying home. The hotel industry, as a result of the shutdown, is facing economic turmoil.

According to a new report from the American Hotel & Lodging Association, the industry has lost $2.4 billion in weekly wages while roughly eight of 10 hotel rooms remain empty. The organization cited data from multiple analytics firms.

The AHLA encompasses big chains like Hyatt and Wyndham Hotels & Resorts.

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TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
HHYATT HOTELS71.66-2.05-2.78%
WHWYNDHAM HOTELS & RESORTS57.27-0.73-1.26%

The financial impact, so far, has been nine times worse than 9/11, according to a 2020 analysis by Oxford Economics. Meanwhile, CBRE predicts occupancy rates for 2020 could hit record lows worse than rates in 1933 during the Great Depression.

Travel began to slow in late February.

“With the impact to the travel industry nine times worse than September 11, the human toll of this public health crisis has been absolutely devastating for the hotel industry,” AHLA President and CEO Chip Rogers said in a statement. “Hotels were one of the first industries affected by the pandemic and will be one of the last to recover.”

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Hotels that are still open are operating are doing so with minimal staff, according to the AHLA. Full-service hotels are using 14 employees on average, down from 50 before the COVID-19 bubbled up.

For the whole of 2020, Oxford Economics projects a whopping 50 percent revenue decline.

“The hotel industry is at a critical juncture,” Rogers said. “We need more resources to survive this unprecedented time. Additional funding is vital for small business owners across America, including tens of thousands of small business hoteliers, to help them keep their doors open and rehire and retain millions of employees.”

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The hotel industry took action to work with the White House and Congress to help employees and small business operators, and as a result of the $2 trillion CARES Act, many hotel operators became eligible for a piece of $349 billion in forgivable loans guaranteed by the Small Business Administration.

In a letter to Congress earlier this month, the AHLA requested an increase to the limit on Paycheck Protection Program loans to eight times monthly covered costs, up from the current 2.5 times. It’s also asking lawmakers to extend the timeline for loan forgiveness to the end of the year.

The group did not immediately respond to FOX Business' request for comment.

FOX Business' Blake Burman contributed to this report

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