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Hotel Industry Sees Nearly 1 Billion Unsold Room Nights This Year

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As fewer people have traveled — and thus, booked hotel rooms — because of the pandemic, the hotel industry is facing a staggering statistic: almost 1 billion empty hotel rooms for the year.

As of last week, more than 962 million room nights have gone unsold, Bloomberg News reported, citing data from lodging information firm STR. That’s about 46 percent more than all of last year. The industry is projected to surpass 1 billion unsold rooms by Christmas.

Last year, more than 650 million room nights went unsold, despite occupancy rates in 2019 hitting 66 percent, nearly a record high.

But this year is anything but normal. It’s estimated that hotel owners have seen about $46 billion in lost revenue, and many owners expect to close without federal aid.

“If there’s no relief before the holidays, I don’t know how many hotels will continue into 2021,” Bijal Patel, chairman of the California Hotel & Lodging Association, told Bloomberg. “Many of us are going to be on the brink of shutting down.”

Even with a vaccine, hotels face a slow recovery. In 2021, occupancy is projected to be 52 percent. Levels are expected to return to last year’s normal until 2024.

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