More than 23,000 hotel jobs lost so far in Va.
National associations forecasts Virginia will lose 59% of lodging workforce, or 78,000 jobs.
As of Monday, the lodging and hotels industry has lost more than 23,000 jobs in Virginia as a result of the coronavirus crisis, according to Eric Terry, president of the Virginia Restaurant, Lodging & Travel Association.
The American Hotel and Lodging Association (AHLA) on Monday released the results of a study estimating that Virginia’s lodging industry will lose a total of more than 78,000 total direct and indirect jobs before the pandemic is over.
“Right now we’re trying to help them as much as we can with getting their employees in a position to collect unemployment and other sorts of benefits,” Terry says. “We’re aggressively working with the governor’s office as well as our congressional leaders on solutions in the longer term that will help companies keep people employed.”
Virginia employs a total of 192,936 people in the hotel industry, and faces losing 59% of those jobs due to the crisis, compared to projections of 44% in hotel industry job losses nationwide. McLean-based Hilton Worldwide Holdings has said that it has furloughed “tens of thousands” of workers globally. Marriott International Inc. said Sunday it was furloughing about two-thirds of the 4,000 employees at its Bethesda, Maryland, headquarters, as well as about two-thirds of its international corporate workforce.
The United States hotel industry directly employs approximately 2.3 million people directly and creates another 6 million indirect jobs, according to the AHLA. Indirect hotel jobs that will be impacted include food service delivery, laundry services, travel agencies, supply companies that supply hotels with cleaning and toiletry supplies and construction companies that could be making hotel renovations — and the list goes on.
“As a hotelier in Richmond, Virginia, I have experienced firsthand the major cancellations … and impacts on our business,” John Cario, general manager of the Hilton in Downtown Richmond, said in a statement. “These drops in business, [and] thus revenues, cause us to temporarily furlough our associates. Many of us have taken unwanted vacation to assist the cash flow of the operation.”
In addition to job losses, many hotels have had to close for business, as their occupancy rates drifted under 10%, Terry says. With hotels closing, VRLTA has begun connecting with external resources to offer vacant hotel spaces to first responders, medical staffers and quarantine patients, although not yet at a large scale, Terry says. “Obviously [we have] a lot of places where we can keep people isolated,” Terry says, “…and it could work out pretty well.”
Meanwhile, it’s a tough situation for hotels and their remaining employees.
“There are people who are not sure where their next paycheck is coming from,” said Thomas Beyer, vice president of development for hospitality management company Newport Hospitality Group Inc. “We are not sure how long this will last, but the effects are significant. We have owners who are concerned about making their mortgage payments.”
With uncertainty in the future, Terry knows one thing for sure.
“It’s not going to be good. It’s going to be a tough few months for the industry,” he says.