Maui News

AHLA: Hawai‘i Hotel Business Travel Revenue to be Down 77%

October 5, 2021, 8:18 AM HST
* Updated October 6, 8:50 AM
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West Maui. PC: Wendy Osher

Hawaiʻi hotels are projected to lose $1.18 billion in business travel revenue in 2021, down 77.4% compared to 2019 levels, according to a recent report from the American Hotel & Lodging Association and Kalibri Labs. According to the report, hotels across the nation are projected to end 2021 down more than $59 billion in business travel revenue compared to 2019 after losing nearly $49 billion in 2020.

The new analysis comes on the heels of a recent AHLA survey, which found that most business travelers are canceling, reducing, and postponing trips amid continued COVID-19 concerns. 

To extend a lifeline to hotel workers and provide the assistance needed to survive until travel returns to pre-pandemic levels, US Representatives Ed Case (HI-01) and Kaiali’i Kahele (HI-02) have signed on as co-sponsors to the Save Hotel Jobs Act, legislation currently before Congress that would direct 100% of its funding to keep hotel workers on the payroll.

Business travel, which includes corporate, group, government, and other commercial categories, is the hotel industry’s largest source of revenue and is not expected to reach pre-pandemic levels until 2024, according to the report. 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 expected to end 2021 down nearly 500,000 jobs compared to 2019, including more than 12,500 lost jobs in Hawaiʻi. 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—meaning an additional nearly 1.3 million hotel-supported jobs are also at risk nationwide unless Congress acts, according to the AHLA.

AHLA President and CEO Chip Rogers applauded Representatives Case and Kahele for co-sponsoring this critical legislation to support hotel workers.

“We’d like to thank Representatives Case and Kahele for supporting our workforce during one of the most difficult years on record,” said Rogers. “While many other hard-hit industries have received targeted federal relief, the hotel industry has not. We need Congress to pass the bipartisan Save Hotel Jobs Act so hotels can retain and rehire employees until travel demand, especially business travel, comes back to pre-pandemic levels.”

Despite being among the hardest hit, hotels are the only segment of the hospitality and leisure industry yet to receive direct aid. That is why AHLA and UNITE HERE, the largest hospitality workers’ union in North America, joined forces to call on Congress to pass the bipartisan Save Hotel Jobs Act introduced by Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) and Rep. Charlie Crist (D-Fla.). The AHLA says the Save Hotel Jobs Act would provide critical support to hotels and their workers during this crucial period. Key provisions include:

  • Supporting Hotel Workers: Direct payroll grants will be utilized for payroll and benefits expenses for workers. The legislation would also require grantees to give laid-off workers recall rights to ensure those who lost their hotel jobs due to the pandemic are able to get back to work.
  • Allowing Worker-Friendly Tax Credits: Provides a Personal Protective Equipment Tax Credit to promote worker safety measures, which would allow for a payroll tax credit for 50 percent of costs associated with the purchase of personal protective equipment, technology designed to reduce the impact of the pandemic, increased testing for employees, and enhanced cleaning protocols that do not negatively impact the level of work for housekeeping staff. 

The American Hotel & Lodging Association is the sole national association representing all segments of the U.S. lodging industry. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., AHLA focuses on strategic advocacy, communications support and workforce development programs to move the industry forward.

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, hospitality was the first industry impacted and it will be among the last to recover, according to the AHLA.

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