Group Sales for Tourism Businesses Research

Goals

To have a broad understanding of what the current situation is in the world of Group Sales specifically for tourism businesses. An ideal response would include information, data, and/or statistics surrounding the number of hotels, conference centers, and destination marketing organizations (DMOs) that have furloughed their group sales staff and expert predictions for when group travel and conferences might begin to come back.

Early Findings

  • We were not provided a geographic focus for this project, so we assumed a broad approach and looked globally. If a more targeted approach is desired, for example, the United States, this would have to be clearly communicated to us in any reply.
  • "Tourism is a major source of employment globally. The labor market has some distinguishing features. The industry is labor-intensive in nature." A high proportion of the jobs are undertaken by women, 54 percent, significantly higher than in most other sectors, and consists of a lot of young employees.
  • "Amid travel restrictions, the cruise industry has suspended sailing until September 2020. The industry has seen record losses in share prices amongst the top three cruise lines: Carnival, Norwegian Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean Cruises. For example, Carnival’s share price dropped 70 percent in the first quarter of 2020, However, booking for 2021 are 40 percent up on 2019, according to data from industry sources, but this may reflect postponed booking from 2020."
  • "As of April 2020, the airline industry (IATA) has recorded an 80 percent drop in flights when compared to the same period in 2019."
  • The WTTC anticipates that the international tourism sector will likely return to pre-pandemic levels within a 19-month period. Depending on the duration of the pandemic and the measures to contain it, the model presents the effects in three time periods: from a 33 percent to 100 percent reduction in annual tourism spending. As the world slowly reopens its economies for tourism, it remains to be seen which scenario will be the most applicable.
  • "Nearly 9 out of 10 hotels (87 percent) have had to lay off or furlough staff due to the pandemic, according to a new survey conducted by the American Hotel and Lodging Association, while more than one-third (36 percent) have been unable to rehire any staff furloughed since the outbreak began. Of the more than 600 hotel owners surveyed, more than 50% said they are in danger of losing their properties to foreclosure."
  • Chip Rogers, president and CEO of the American Hotel and Lodging Association, was quoted as asserting: "that more than 8,000 hotels could close in September if business travel does not pick up and funding from the Paycheck Protection Program runs out. "According to AHLA, only 20 percent of hotels have received any debt relief from Commercial Mortgage-Backed Security lenders on Wall Street. Without aid from Congress, the industry association expects massive foreclosures."
  • "Among the hotels lost to COVID-19 are the Omni Berkshire Place, Times Square Edition, Hilton Westchester and W New York Downtown, all of which are in New York. A recent report from The Wall Street Journal suggests 20 percent of New York's total hotel supply (about 250,000 rooms) could close permanently."
  • "Oyo Rooms, which operates more than 43,000 hotels with more than 1 million rooms around the world, announced in mid-July that more than 90 percent of its U.S. workforce would be let go."
  • "Las Vegas-based Boyd Gaming, which owns and operates 29 casino properties across 10 states, many with hotels, announced July 13 that it had let go more than 25 percent of its workers." The cut essentially turns numerous furloughs into permanent layoffs. "According to a company spokesperson, the number of layoffs is "at the lower end" of 25 to 60 percent of the total workforce — the range that the company had warned in May could be affected."
  • "In June, Hilton let go 22 percent of its corporate workforce and Marriott International announced that the furloughs and reduced work schedules that were implemented in April will be extended until Oct. 2. A number of corporate Marriott positions are also expected to be eliminated later this year. The hotelier said it does not except to return to prior levels of business until beyond 2021."
  • "Rosen Hotels & Resorts, which owns and operates nine properties in Orlando, has also announced layoffs. The company said it would implement a "substantial reduction of workforce across multiple locations," effective July 31."

Summary Of Our Early Findings Relevant To The Goals

  • As mentioned at the top of this document, we were not provided a geographic focus for this project, so we assumed a broad approach and looked globally. If a more targeted approach is desired, for example, the United States, this would have to be clearly communicated to us in any reply.
  • We had to make a few assumptions in this research as we found nothing surrounding the number of conference centers that have furloughed their groups sales staff specifically. We can assume as a vast number of conference centers are contained within hotels, that the data shown for hotels would cover their conference centers. There was no data found that broke down the group sales staff from other staff members.
  • There was no data found for "group travel" though again, assumptions can be made. For example, the data provided for cruises. Many groups go on cruises, and if the cruise industry is derailed, by extrapolation, so are group sales. We have pivoted the research accordingly.
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