COVID-19: ‘Worst is yet to come’ | Travel-related U.S. unemployment at 51%

Americans anticipate ‘worst is yet to come’

There is a significant increase in the number of U.S. citizens who believe that the worst is yet to come in the coronavirus pandemic, 46%, up from the previous week’s measure of 37%, according to research from international research company BVA BDRC. Only 25% of the population believe that the worst has passed. Americans’ expectation that they will plan and book a U.S. vacation in the next one to three months has remained stable, though one-third of Americans were unable to specify any timeline for their next domestic trip. International travel plans fared less well with a slight downward trend for booking intentions in the next six months. However, there was an increase to 37% from 31% of people who did not want to put any timeline on their next international trip. 

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Travel-related unemployment hits 51% in U.S.

More than half of the 15.8 million travel-related jobs in the U.S. have disappeared since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, driving an unemployment number (51%) that is more than twice the 25% rate the country as a whole experienced at the worst of its Great Depression, according to data from the U.S. Travel Association. Just before the U.S. Memorial Day holiday weekend (May 23-25), Tourism Economics projects that travel spending in the U.S. will tally just a third of last year’s levels — US$4.2 billion this year versus US$12.3 billion in 2019.

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U.S. travelers to stay close to home during reopening: Survey

Just 36% of U.S. travelers intend to take a domestic leisure trip in the next six months, according to a survey conducted by MMGY Travel Intelligence. Some 57% of travelers say that following the pandemic they are more likely to book travel to U.S. destinations, and 43% expect to travel to destinations closer to home. Approximately one-third of travelers remain committed to postponing, rather than canceling, scheduled travel for the months ahead. Activities with the longest booking windows, such as vacation rental homes and cruises, are the most likely to remain unchanged.

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Nine of 10 U.S. hotels have laid off staff: Survey

The American Hotel & Lodging Association has conducted a survey of its members during the period of May 12-14 regarding layoffs, furloughs, and efforts to rehire and retain employees. The survey found that nearly nine out of 10 hotels have either laid off or furloughed staff and only about one third have been able to rehire any staff. Additionally, a majority of hotels don’t expect return to pre-COVID staffing until 2021.

Mandarin’s reopening plans

Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group has been working to put together a reopening plan for its 33 properties around the world. The new ‘We Care’ safety measures include:

·       Prior to arrival, ensuring info on guests’ personal preferences on service levels and level of interaction with staff is collected for hotel staff so that they can plan the guest stay

·       Mandatory health declaration forms upon arrival at hotel

·       Temperature checks for guests and staff

·       Mandarin Oriental-branded ‘We Care’ PPE available for all guests, including masks, disinfectant hand sanitizers and disposable gloves

·       Mandarin Oriental will also continue to monitor the situation and is following the direction of the World Health Organization, as well as relevant health and government authorities for each location to adapt and evolve procedures accordingly

·       Cancellation policies have also been revised

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