The American Hotel & Lodging Association's State of the Hotel Industry 2021 paints a bleak picture of the past year and a cautious but hopeful scene for the upcoming months.

Key findings of the study include:

  • Hotels will add 200,000 direct hotel operations jobs in 2021 but will remain nearly 500,000 jobs below the industry’s pre-pandemic employment level of 2.3 million employees.
  • Half of U.S. hotel rooms are projected to remain empty.
  • Business travel is forecasted to be down 85% compared to 2019 through April 2021, and then only begin ticking up slightly.
  • About 56% of consumers say they expect to travel for leisure, roughly the same amount as in an average year.
  • Nearly half of consumers see vaccine distribution as key to travel.
  • When selecting a hotel, enhanced cleaning and hygiene practices rank as guests’ number two priority, behind price.