Labor Day weekend hotel bookings down 65% from 2019 due to COVID-19, industry group says

Even if Americans are planning to hit the road for the Labor Day weekend, far fewer of them are planning to stay at a hotel than they were a year ago.

According to the American Hotel and Lodging Association, hotel bookings for next week are down 65% from what they were in 2019.

As of Aug. 21, only 14% of hotel rooms were booked for the Labor Day holiday itself, compared to 41% last year, according to Amadeus Demand, which makes  software for hotel reservation sales and tracking.

AHLA also found that only 16% of those polled planned a trip around the holiday. Looking ahead, the numbers for Thanksgiving (25%) and Christmas (29%) aren’t too encouraging, either.

The coronavirus pandemic has battered the hotel industry, according to the industry group’s report on its impact. Four in 10 hotel employees are out of work, and nearly two-thirds of hotels are at or below 50% capacity, the break-even point for most of them.

A prolonged downturn could result in the permanent closure of thousands of hotels, said Chip Rogers, the group’s president and CEO.

“While hotels have seen an uptick in demand during the summer compared to where we were in April, occupancy rates are nowhere near where they were a year ago,” Rogers said in a statement. “Thousands of hotels can’t afford to pay their mortgages and are facing the possibility of foreclosure and closing their doors permanently.”

Hotels and airlines are urging Congress to extend the Paycheck Protection Act, which would backstop employee salaries.

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