While looking at some old photos of historic hotels where Ruth and I have stayed–The Park Inn, the Columbia Gorge–I came across an article I read just 8 months ago called “Thriving Hotel Industry Scrambles for Workers”. Wow, how things change! Written by Karen Schwartz, this article provided some information about hotels that is now obsolete due to the pandemic that has decimated the hotel industry. The article, published last September says that, “…demand for hotels has never been higher.”
Karen says that more than 2,270 hotels and the like have opened during the past 3 years and that staffing problems plague the industry. She says further that the new properties bring the total of places to stay in the USA to 55,900, not counting Airbnb and the like. She brags about the 66% occupancy rate, the highest in 15 years but then says that guests may discover that the operations of places to stay are not running smoothly. I brought up some of these difficulties in “Hotel Tips” on May 8, 2020.
Karen notes that the hotel industry is a huge employer of immigrants. They make up 13% of the overall US population but 31% of hotel workers. No wonder there have been 40,700,000+ jobless claims made for government assistance in the past several weeks! The article points out that, despite the current dire situation, 50,000 people are expected to enroll in hotel management training programs in the next 5 years.
I hope things get back to normal in the next few months in this vital job-creating industry. Meanwhile, it’s a rough business to be in. Just ask those employed at the only existing hotel designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, the Park Inn, in Mason City, Iowa, and the staff at the classic Columbia Gorge Hotel in Hood River, Oregon. Both are featured above. Ruth & I have also visited what used to be the 4th Hilton Hotel called The Cactus in San Angelo, TX in the past year. That staircase below used to be in its lobby. What was once The Cactus is still the tallest building in San Angelo, but it’s a hotel no longer. Unfortunately, it opened for business in 1929.