Jacksonville hotel business travel revenue will be down 50%

JACKSONVILLE, Florida, – Jacksonville hotels are expected to lose $151 million in business travel revenue in 2021, down 50.1% from the pre-pandemic year of 2019, according to a recent report by American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) and Kalibri Labs. Florida hotels stand to lose more than $5.3 billion, while hotels across the country are expected to end 2021 down more than $59 billion in business travel revenue from 2019 after losing nearly $49 billion in 2020.

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The new analysis follows a recent AHLA survey, which found most business travelers were cancelling, reducing and postponing trips amid ongoing COVID-19 concerns.

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To extend a lifeline to hotel workers and provide the assistance needed to survive until travel returns to pre-pandemic levels. U.S. Rep. Al Lawson, R-Tallahassee, co-sponsored the Save Hotel Jobs Act, legislation currently before Congress that would direct 100% of its funding to keep hotel employees on the payroll.

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Business travel, which includes corporate, group, government and other commercial categories, is the hospitality industry’s largest source of revenue and is not expected to reach pre-pandemic levels until 2024. The lack of business travel and events has major implications for jobs and underscores the need for targeted federal assistance, such as the Save Hotel Jobs Act.

Hotels are expected to end 2021 down nearly 500,000 jobs from 2019, including more than 44,000 jobs lost in Florida. For every 10 people directly employed in a hotel property, hotels support an additional 26 jobs in the community, from restaurants and retail to hospitality supply companies, meaning nearly 1.3 million additional hotel jobs are also nationally threatened, according to AHLA.

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“We want to thank Rep. Lawson for supporting our staff during one of the toughest years on record,” said AHLA President and CEO Chip Rogers. “While many other hard-hit industries have received targeted federal assistance, the hospitality industry has not.”

Despite being among the hardest hit category of businesses, hotels are the only segment of the hospitality and leisure industry not yet to receive direct aid. That’s why AHLA and UNITE HERE, the largest union for hotel workers in North America, have joined forces to call on Congress to pass the bipartisan Save Hotel Jobs Act introduced by Sen. Brian Schatz (D -Hawaii) and Rep. Charlie Crist (D-Florida).

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The main provisions include:

  • Support hotel workers: Direct payroll subsidies will be used for payroll taxes and worker benefits. The legislation would also require beneficiaries to grant laid-off workers recall rights to ensure those who have lost their hospitality jobs due to the pandemic can return to work.

  • Allow worker-friendly tax credits: Provides a personal protective equipment tax credit to promote worker safety measures, which would allow a payroll tax credit for 50% of costs associated with the purchase of personal protective equipment, technology designed to reduce the impact of the pandemic, increased testing for employees and improved cleaning protocols that do not negatively impact the level of work of the maintenance staff.

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