Florida hotels are projected to end the year on a low note with business travel revenue still hitting speed bumps in 2021.
With much of the state still experiencing a slow recovery since the onset of the pandemic, the new report released on Wednesday by the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) and Kalibri Labs found that business travel, the hotel industry’s largest source of revenue, would take a major hit in 2021. The metric, which includes corporate, group, government, and other commercial categories, is forecast to be down nearly 61 percent or $5.3 billion compared to 2019.
While Florida has seen some return of business travel this year, full comparative revenue is not expected to reach pre-pandemic levels until 2024.
“Florida is a top destination for national and international business travel, and our hotels and restaurants rely on that revenue,” said Carol Dover, President and CEO of the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association (FRLA). “While leisure travel returned this year – in some regions higher than even 2019’s record figures – business travel still remains down overall, and Florida is projected to end 2021 with the second-highest losses in the nation, behind only the state of California. We continue to advocate for hotel relief so that our industry can recover, support and employ our team members, and create those wonderful guest experiences we are known for worldwide.”
The new analysis comes on the heels of a recent national survey by AHLA, which found that most business travelers are canceling, reducing, and postponing trips amid rising COVID-19 cases. The lack of business travel and events has major repercussions for employment and underscores the need for targeted federal relief, such as the Save Hotel Jobs Act.
Hotels are also expected to end 2021 down nearly 500,000 jobs nationally compared to 2019. For every 10 people directly employed on a hotel property, hotels support an additional 26 jobs in the community, from restaurants and retail to hotel supply companies – an additional nearly 1.3 million hotel-supported jobs are also at risk.
“While some industries have started rebounding from the pandemic, this report is a sobering reminder that hotels and hotel employees are still struggling,” said Chip Rogers, President and CEO of AHLA. “Business travel is critical to our industry’s viability, especially in the fall and winter months when leisure travel normally begins to decline. Continued COVID-19 concerns among travelers will only exacerbate these challenges. That’s why it’s time for Congress to pass the bipartisan Save Hotel Jobs Act to help hotel employees and small business owners survive this crisis.”
Despite being among the hardest hit, hotels are the only segment of the hospitality and leisure industry yet to receive direct aid.
To view a state-by-state breakdown, click here.