Hotels recover revenue, but staff shortages linger

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The hotel industry this year will surpass pre-pandemic levels of demand and room revenue but struggle with lingering pandemic-era staff shortages, according to annual projections released Monday.

Total revenue per available room will increase from $170.35 billion in 2019 to $197.48 billion this year, the American Hotel and Lodging Association reported.

And room demand is expected to increase from 1.29 billion occupied room nights in 2019 to 1.3 billion this year, according to the trade group’s 2023 State of the Hotel Industry Report.

Record travel last summer has accelerated the industry’s recovery from COVID-19, said AHLA President and CEO Chip Rogers.

“Three years after the unprecedented hardships our industry faced due to the pandemic, hotels continue to make significant strides toward recovery,” Mr. Rogers said in a statement.

The AHLA predicts average hotel occupancy will reach 63.8% this year, two percentage points short of the 65.9% rate in 2019. And hotels are projected to employ 2.09 million workers this year, down from 2.35% in 2019.

In 2020, COVID-19 quarantines drove U.S. hotel revenues to a record-low $85.5 billion in revenues, a 50% drop from 2019.

Past AHLA projections found the industry $59 billion below 2019 revenue levels in 2021 and $20 billion short last year.

The industry has struggled to replace frontline hospitality and food service workers who did not return from furloughs during COVID quarantines. Some hotels “hired” robots and installed automated kiosks last year to replace human housekeepers and servers who switched to work-from-home careers.

Read the full article on The Washington Times.