That last couple of months have been crazy and unpredictable, but hoteliers haven’t wilted in the face of pressure.
A significant amount of time and discussion in the hotel industry seems to be devoted to worrying about things outside of the industry’s control, and that’s probably justified.
After all, when you look at the things that have led to large downward swings—so called “black swans” that are capable of ending the lodging cycle—they’ve all been things that are more widespread than the hotel industry alone.
It’s human nature to worry about the unknown and unknowable. And hoteliers and industry investors seem to do a significant amount of just that, hoping to divine what the next catalyst to the next economic downturn might be because—in the immortal words of G.I. Joe—knowing is half the battle.
But if the hotel industry has proven anything over the last couple of months, it’s that big, unexpected, negative events can (and must) be overcome. Indeed, there has been no shortage of things that could cause significant negative change between major storms in Texas, Florida and the Caribbean, a massive earthquake in Mexico, a horrific shooting in Las Vegas, and devastating and lingering wildfires in northern California.
It’s a sad reality of the world we live in that bad things are bound to happen, but it stretches plausibility that so many of them with such wide-reaching impact could happen in such a short window of time.
There are hotels that have been damaged and destroyed in these disasters. There are people who have been injured and killed, and none of the areas affected have gotten through it completely unscathed.
But throughout each devastation, hotels have largely been a positive, with hoteliers working to help their communities and keeping their businesses afloat in times of great strife.
It will obviously be years before the industry as a whole can unpack the long-term effects of everything we’ve seen take place over the last two months, but it seems in a macro sense that the industry has managed to survive and, in some instances, thrive.
Performance metrics are up in some place, buoyed by displaced residents and emergency responders. And some damaged hotels will eventually realize an opportunity to revamp and improve thanks to insurance payouts.
Those positives clearly don’t wipe out all the serious negatives attached to these events, but they do serve as a reminder that the hotel industry might be a bit more stable and resilient than we sometimes think.
Bad things will happen. There will be recessions and natural disasters in the future. There are things we don’t know about and won’t be able to predict. Things will look dire and dark for periods.
But there will always be light at the end of that tunnel. The industry, and its people, will get through it, better and stronger than they were before. And the highs will almost always be higher than they were in the past.
So take pride, hoteliers. You’re able to get through just about anything thrown your way.
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