Sep 4, 2020 - Economy

Hotel crisis hits new milestone

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Labor Day weekend traffic might be a touch lighter this year, with hotel bookings down 65% compared to last year.

Why it matters: America's hotels are on life support as the coronavirus pandemic drags on, with hundreds of billions of dollars in revenue and some 2 million jobs at stake.

What’s happening: The pandemic-era travel drought has continued through major holiday weekends like Easter, Memorial Day, Independence Day and, now, Labor Day.

  • As a result, the American hotel industry is projected to shrink by 45% in 2020, according to the market research firm Ibis World.
  • Just 16% of Americans plan to travel for Labor Day, 25% for Thanksgiving and 29% for Christmas, per a new report from the American Hotel & Lodging Association. 14% of hotel rooms are booked for this weekend, compared with 41% last year.
  • And even as states around the country begin to reopen, 4 in 10 hotel workers are still on furlough.

The other side: As hotels suffer, Airbnb is doing quite well, Axios' Felix Salmon writes.

  • Work-from-home has turned into work-from-anywhere for America's telecommuters, and vacationers prefer homes they can have to themselves over buildings they have to share with other people.

The bottom line: Travel is starting to creep back from lows earlier in the summer, but it'll be a long time before people feel comfortable checking into hotels again. And it'll be even longer before international tourists start filling up rooms.

Go deeper