Hotels: The Revolution Lives
PHOTO COURTESY OF THE PERRY LANE HOTEL
The COVID-19 pandemic has hit the travel industry like a nuclear bomb, with hotels taking the brunt of the impact. In Savannah, the pandemic came just as the city was in the midst of a hospitality revolution. And it takes more than one defeat to end a revolution.
When it comes to something as universally devastating as the COVID-19 pandemic, perhaps no industry has suffered greater casualties than the travel industry. From both the top down and the bottom up, travel has been rocked by both the economic and societal effects of rolling lockdowns and endless uncertainty.
“Even if a hotel is open and you reserve it, even if a destination will allow you to come, you can’t visit museums, restaurants or attractions, so why go there in the first place? It’s having a domino effect all the way down to local gift store,” said internationally recognized travel expert Mark Murphy.
Nationwide, that bears out. According to the American Hotel and Lodging Association, as of July 8, nearly six out of 10 open hotel rooms were empty across the country in addition to the thousands of hotels shuttered completely. Throughout the state of Georgia, this has meant a loss of 115,095 hotel jobs.
But Savannah is a different creature. Here, the pandemic hit just as the city was experiencing a hotel revolution, with new properties just coming on-line as the city’s hospitality profile skyrocketed. For these revolutionaries, the pandemic could be their Battle of Bunker Hill. A loss, to be sure. But not the end of the revolution. Not by a long shot.
In Savannah, occupancy rates are steadily rising. Over? This revolution is just getting started.