Partner Cliff Risman was quoted n the Skift article, “Why Do Hotels Seem to Be Getting The Shaft From Washington on Coronavirus Relief?” which discussed why hotels seem to be being ignored in talks in Washington DC about additional coronavirus relief.
Congressional reticence on providing the hotel industry, which has significantly higher unemployment than the national average, with direct economic relief may come down to political theater and poor marketing.
The hotel industry largely qualified for Paycheck Protection Program small business loans under the $2 trillion coronavirus relief package passed in March. But some hotel owners came under fire for tapping into those loans. The industry chalked up some of the bad press to the general public not recognizing hotels are generally small businesses that pay to affiliate with a major brand like Marriott or Hilton. These global chains don’t actually own the real estate where their brand flag flies or pay the employees, according to Skift.
“It was very unfortunate, but that was out there,” said Risman. “The airlines were helped significantly. Should the hospitality industry? I believe so, but it’s a political hot potato.”
Because the president is a hotel owner, a deeply divided Congress also may not want to disproportionately help an industry where the president’s family stands to profit.
“It’s unfortunate, but that’s the situation the hotel industry finds itself in because Trump is the president,” Risman said. “That’s why I think they’re fighting an uphill battle. If Trump had been in the airline industry, the airlines wouldn’t have got what they did for the same reason.”