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Boost in New Hotel Jobs Shows Optimism in Industry

New Hotel Jobs Shows

In February, 36,000 new jobs were added to the hotel industry. Is this the light at the end of the tunnel?

Last month, The GEM reported the hotel industry was predicted to improve halfway through 2021. The latest statistics from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics confirm that analysis.

According to BLS data, most job gains last month were in hospitality. The 36,000 new jobs show huge improvement from the 18,000 that were lost the month before. This isn’t to say things are back to normal.

In a year-over-year comparison, employment is down by more than 20 percent. But this may be a sign of good things to come. Here are a few predictions of why things are shaping up.

A change in perception

Back in 2019, occupancy rates held at a steady 66 percent. Industry revenues were slashed by nearly 50 percent from a whopping $167 billion to $85 billion, according to HospitalityNet.

The site reported hotel occupancy rates were at 44 percent for most of 2020.

Now moving into the second quarter of the year, more Americans seem to have a change in perception when it comes to travel and lodging.

Hotel industry data provider STR recently reported occupancy rates were at their highest since Oct. 2020. At 48 percent in one week, hotel occupancy in the U.S. had been stagnant nearly the entire year. And that’s not all.

A recent poll from Longwoods International, a travel and tourism market research consultancy, found the highest number of Americans have plans to travel in the next six months since it started tracking the information early in the pandemic.

For three consecutive months, the research found eight in 10 Americans looked forward to traveling. Most recently? It’s up to 84 percent. So why now? What has changed?

COVID-19 vaccine rates are up

It seems with increasing vaccine rates, more Americans are ready to get back to leisure and traveling.

The Centers for Disease Control vaccine tracker reports 93.7 million Americans have been inoculated, and that number will only climb from here.

“Travel planning continues to accelerate as improving pandemic and vaccine data is released,” said Amir Eylon, CEO of Longwoods International.  “Barring another surge in infections, the beginning of the travel industry recovery appears on target during 2021.”

That raises the question: How long until the industry fully recovers?

Predictions are still set to return to pre-COVID levels in 2023. Both McKinsey & Company and The American Hotel and Lodging Association have said reported similar insights.

Knowing there is a date in mind is a sigh of relief following an uncertain year.

“COVID-19 has wiped out 10 years of hotel job growth,” Chip Rogers, AHLA’s CEO, said in a statement. “Yet the hallmark of hospitality is endless optimism, and I am confident in the future of our industry.”