Cleveland hospitality industry continues to hurt during pandemic

Coronavirus

CLEVELAND (WJW) — Hotels in the Cleveland area and nationwide have an uphill battle as the coronavirus pandemic continues to disrupt the industry.

Hospitality industry insiders said even if the pandemic ends next year it could take several more before there is a full recovery.

“Those groups are not going to recover to the level where we had been in 2019 until probably 2023,” said David Sangree, President of Hotel and Leisure Advisors.

The nationwide hospitality consulting firm with a Cleveland office said area urban hotels are faring on par with hotels in cities across the country in the sense they have “really suffered.”

The closure of the IX Center in Cleveland will likely add to the problem. The destination for trade shows and events that said it welcomed millions of visitors each year announced its closure after 35 years due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“If the IX center were to close permanently that would have any detrimental impact on not only airport hotels but the hotel market in general.”

Sangree said Cleveland received a needed boost while hosting the first presidential debate.

He said he has not seen an official count yet of the direct correlation but estimated occupancy increased due to amount of people including the president, journalists, politicians, and organizers coming into town.

However, one event does not make up for a lack of business and leisure travel. With limited and in some leagues no fans being allowed in person to watch sporting events, demand for hotels is lower than previous years.

“The occupancy year to date through July was at 43 percent for the Cleveland area which is down, that’s over 20 points lower than where it was in the same period last year,” said Sangree.

He adds people who are traveling are not coming as often to urban markets like Cleveland. Instead, Sangree said they are going to resorts with the ability to host outdoor activities.

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