Ongoing COVID-19 pandemic could bring new worries for Arizona's hospitality industry

Winter is coming, and that usually brings relief for the hospitality industry in Arizona, because they rely so much on travel.

However, there is a possible sign of trouble for 2021, as nearly 70% of travellers in the U.S. are considering a pullback on plans because of covid-19.

According to a poll conducted for the American Hotel and Lodging Association, 69% are planning to take fewer trips. 55% are willing to postpone them, and 42% are likely to cancel altogether.

"It's going to be a long fall and winter for the hospitality industry," said Chip Rogers with the American Hotel and Lodging Association. "It's been a rough couple of years, and we really needed that travel to continue, and it seems to be falling off."

While the national numbers do not look good, Arizona appears ready to go for the winter season, at least for now.

From big spacious rooms to outdoor soaking tubs, Bill Nassikas says things are back on track at Sanctuary Camelback Mountain Resort, after a tough year and a half for the industry.

"It's been tremendously fruitful, and leisure demand is what's driving it," said Nassikas.

According to multiple hotel groups, leisure travel has stayed steady in Arizona, and is actually growing, possibly as a result of how things are built in the state.

"Most of our business is done in a resort environment, and I think people feel safer than double room corridors or stacked seven to 30-story hotel buildings," said Nassikas.

The Arizona Lodging and Tourism Association agrees with that, but adds things are murky for business and group travel.

"We are seeing some cancellations, which has a ripple effect, and that is concerning to us," said Kim Sabow with AZLTA.

Nassikas, however, says resort hotels are staying optimistic.

"As long as there's no big curve in the road, we're going to continue to see the leisure demand," said Nassikas.

Officials with the American Hotel and Lodging Association said they are concerned that layoffs in other regions may be coming, and they are concerned that should another round of job loss take place, the industry may lose those affected for good.

In Arizona, however, a lot of investment has been made to prevent that, and many hotel owners said the bigger concern currently is finding good employees, and that there is no risk of layoffs.

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