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COVID impact: SF hotels struggle during holiday season

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SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) – With Thanksgiving and the holidays approaching, hotels in San Francisco would normally be booking up fast.

“Normally this time of year, valet parking is a hot commodity and we have a huge amount of weekend people coming in,” Mark Beevor said.

However this year, many rooms sit empty and it’s not only affecting the hotel industry but many others around them.

Fewer visitors are traveling to San Francisco because of the pandemic and hotels are struggling to keep their doors open.

General manager of Hotel Zetta, Mark Beevor, says the percent of rooms filled right now is much lower than this time last year.

“Unfortunately, as everyone knows, it’s nowhere close to where we were. We ought to be in the high 80’s low 90’s somewhere around there this time of year. Particularly right now with Thanksgiving coming up, we should be having a lot of families, a lot of connecting rooms being booked out, the suites booked out. You know this time of year we’re now in the 30’s and it’s definitely a very different scene,” Beevor said.

Beevor says he normally has a staff of over 40 people, but with less visitor, the hotel was forced to cut their team down to around 20 people.

It’s a common theme across all hotels in the city as some remain temporarily closed.

“When a hotel isn’t busy, we don’t have as much work for our employees. About 54% of our employees both live and work in San Francisco so the impact when we’re not busy, our employees aren’t working, the businesses around the hotels are being impacted so restaurants, taxis,” Kevin Carroll said.

President of the Hotel Council of San Francisco, Kevin Carroll explains the impact is far greater than just the hotel industry.

“Hotels are the largest contributor of revenue to the city through both what we call our occupancy taxes, sales taxes so when you look at us being off so significantly from a hotel point of view, that impacts revenue that’s coming into the city that’s used for everything the city would do,” Carroll said.

Fewer travelers is a trend that we’ll likely see for the rest of the holiday season.

In a recent survey done by the American Hotel & Lodging Association, 72% of Americans said they were unlikely to travel for Thanksgiving and 69% were unlikely to travel for Christmas.

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