ATLANTA—Anthony Melchiorri, CEO of Argeo Hospitality, host of Travel Channel’s Hotel Impossible and the hospitality-focused podcast “Anthony Melchiorri Live” appealed to Congress to address the liquidity crisis facing the nation’s hotel owners as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. In a video message, Melchiorri urged lawmakers to enact substantive measures to help hoteliers such as as a second round of Paycheck Protection Program (PPP); banking relief for holders of commercial mortgage-backed security (CMBS) loans; access to the Main Street Lending Program for commercial real estate; and increased resources for the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program.
“America’s hotels are small businesses. The majority are local businesses owned and operated by friends and neighbors in our communities,” said Melchiorri. “The economic fallout of this pandemic hit the hospitality industry hard. Without travelers, without heads in beds, there’s no cash in the register. The men and women I work with every day, like the hotel owners at AAHOA, are facing a dire financial crisis that threatens to shutter thousands of businesses across the country. Congress needs to do right by these small businesses and help preserve the millions of jobs they create.”
The precipitous drop in travel stemming from state lockdowns, quarantines and no-travel orders saw occupancy rates at hotels fall into the single digits. The corresponding fall in revenue has left hoteliers struggling to pay their employees and meet debt obligations such as mortgage payments, utility costs and property taxes.
In a recent industry survey, nearly half of respondents said they are at risk of losing their property. The hospitality industry has also lost more than 4.8 million jobs since the onset of COVID-19 in February. Nearly 90% of hotels furloughed or laid off workers, and more than one-third have not been able to hire back any employees. Most experts believe the industry will not return to full strength until 2023.
“Hotel owners and their employees need real relief, and they need it now,” said Cecil Staton, AAHOA president/CEO. “Our leaders in Washington must work together and create a stimulus package that addresses the reality facing hotel owners. Another round of PPP will help ensure employees can continue to be paid. Granting hoteliers greater flexibility with EIDL, access to the Main Street Lending Program and CMBS relief will ensure that these businesses can come out on the other side of this crisis. People will travel again and, when they do, we want our hotels to welcome them into our communities once more.”