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Hotels’ Dilemma: Brain Drain in Convention Services?

Less than one-quarter of all properties have brought back to work at least 60 percent of their employees. Many people won’t be able to wait around and will move on to other jobs.

The American Hotel & Lodging Association has been very active in Washington D.C. since the coronavirus pandemic took hold, asking for various types of financial relief to keep hotels in business. A recent survey of AHLA members shows that the relief is most necessary—only 37 percent said they were able to get half their staff back on the payroll by now, while only 24 percent have been able to bring back 60 percent of staff.

This article from outlines the dire situation many hotels face, especially full-service properties that rely on business and social groups to fill their meeting and event space. The longer that corporate travel is curtailed due to Covid-19—just this week, pharma giant Pfizer extended its employee travel ban through June 30, 2021—the longer it will take for in-person business events to resume. In turn, it becomes less likely that convention services managers at full-service properties will stick around in the hopes of going back to their jobs.

In such a scenario, meeting and event planners will have yet another hurdle to overcome when their in-person meetings start again: Less on-site expertise to draw upon as they try to create a meeting environment that satisfies attendees and reaches an event’s business objectives and sustainability goals, all at reasonable cost.

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