Pamplin Media Group – Portland hospitality industry surging with summer tourism wave, industry leaders say


Hotel, hospitality sector leaders meet to discuss economic strategy, opportunities. […]

Hotel, hospitality sector leaders meet to discuss economic strategy, opportunities.

COURTESY IMAGE: AMERICAN HOTEL & LODGING ASSOCIATION - Hospitality sector leaders met this July to discuss strategies and opportunities stemming from the summer tourism boom.On July 21, Travel Portland, the Portland Business Alliance, the Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association, and the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) met with hospitality and business leaders to discuss how summer tourism in Portland is creating economic opportunity.

The AHLA found nearly 70% of Americans plan to travel this summer, and 60% are more likely to take more vacations this year compared to 2020-21, in a commissioned survey conducted by Morning Consult.

The meeting highlighted how the surge in tourism is resulting in a hospitality hiring spree, and hotels in the Portland area alone are looking to fill more than 1,000 open jobs.

Chip Rogers is the president and CEO of the AHLA.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has left an indelible mark on travel, but we are optimistic about the future,” Rogers said. “Hotels have always been a major economic engine in communities across the nation, including Portland. And that fact is on full display as hotels are making historic workforce investments to attract and retain the employees needed to meet this summer’s significant travel demand. Hotel wages, benefits and workplace flexibility are better than they’ve ever been, making now a great time to choose a career in the hotel industry.”

Some of the economic opportunities for the hospitality industry include more hotel employment hiring and retention strategies, such as higher wages, more benefits and more flexibility.

“Since the downturn of the pandemic, we’ve been eagerly awaiting the opportunity to host more events, businesses and families here in the great city of Portland,” said Megan Conway, chief strategy officer at Travel Portland. “It looks like that opportunity is finally here in full swing and we want to send a strong message to travelers and event or conference planners that Portland is open for business and ready to welcome them back.”

According to industry leaders at the event, hotels lost more than $1 billion in room revenue throughout 2020 and 2021, which directly resulted in a loss of $170 million in state and local tax revenue.

Jason Brandt is the president and CEO of the Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association.

“Our hotels are continuing to prepare for an influx of leisure and business travelers back to Portland,” Brandt said. “Not only are our hotels on a hiring initiative, but restaurants around the city are aiming to bolster their staff. As we anticipate more guests and events in the coming weeks, increasing staff at hotels and restaurants will ensure guest expectations are met.”

AHLA hosted the event as part of its series of Reigniting Travel events in major cities, and in conjunction with its Hospitality is Working campaign.

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