Feb 10, 2021 - News
The challenge ahead for Des Moines hotels
Data: STR; Chart: Axios Visuals

Despite a devastating dip in business due to the pandemic, Des Moines hotels are starting to see small gains from events like the Feb. 2-4 Iowa Ag Expo and the State Wrestling Championships set to take place later this month.

The big picture: Bouncing back to pre-pandemic occupancy rides on the success of the vaccine rollout, Greg Edwards, CEO of the Greater Des Moines Convention and Visitors Bureau, told Axios.

The state of play: About half of the metro area’s 21,000 tourism and service industry jobs have been at least temporarily lost during the pandemic, Edwards said.

  • While no hotels have yet closed, Edwards thinks some of the smaller ones could be in trouble if the pandemic recovery stalls.
  • "A hotel downtown and on a normal day ... would probably have about 200 employees from housekeeping to restaurant banquet people, but my guess today is they might have 30 in there," he added.

This story first appeared in the Axios Des Moines newsletter, designed to help readers get smarter, faster on the most consequential news unfolding in their own backyard.


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