Hotel occupancy in Springfield is still well below normal levels but the numbers continue trending upward after hitting a low of 21.2 percent April 5-11.

For May 17-23 occupancy was 41.1 percent, which is 42.5 percent lower than the same period last year. The average daily rate was $67.32, down 28.3 percent; demand was at 17,419, down 41.3 percent; and revenue was down $1,172,598, down 57.9 percent.

It’s unlikely we’ll see travel reaching its previous levels until there’s a vaccine or at least good treatments for the coronavirus that set the world’s economy into a tailspin. With more than 100,000 Americans dead and nearly 360,000 deaths worldwide, people remain fearful and will be hesitant to travel while there’s still a risk of exposure to the virus.

That, unfortunately, includes group business. Since officials began issuing stay-at-home orders earlier this year, nearly 60 groups that worked with the CVB have canceled their events, resulting in an economic loss of more than $32 million to the local economy. And that’s just groups that worked with the CVB; countless others that booked directly with hotels also have been canceled. 

As businesses begin reopening and the economy improves, travel will improve, too. Just don’t expect to see any time soon the same kind of numbers we were seeing prior to the pandemic.

When people do travel to Springfield, they can be assured members of the Springfield Hotel Lodging Association are adhering to high standards when it comes to guest safety and hotel cleanliness. The SHLA has endorsed the American Hotel & Lodging Association’s Safe Stay Initiative, created specifically in response to Covid-19. The initiative provides guidelines for enhancing the hotel industry’s existing rigorous cleaning practices, social interactions and workplace protocols and provides a new level of focus and transparency to guests. 

As the city relaxes its safety policies for businesses and public places I’m confident others are implementing similar policies and practices to keep patrons safe. 

While we traverse this new landscape, we encourage you to keep an eye on our Issues & Info newsletter, Facebook group and LinkedIn page where we’re posting a variety of information about resources that can be helpful to businesses, including webinars, articles and more.