Orlando Hotel Industry: Years of Financial Hardship to Come

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Orlando hotels continue to struggle

Credit: Marriott

With Orlando, Florida, being a tourism capital of the world, the Orlando hotel industry has immensely suffered during the pandemic. The Central Florida Economy continues to navigate a lengthy recovery process after it was decimated by the effects of the ongoing pandemic.

crown plaza
Credit: igh.com

Recently three Orlando area hotels went up for auction, and analysts have stated these three would not be the last. Now, analysts and industry experts are saying they believe it could take up to 26 months before the hotel industry in Orlando could see a near-full recovery.

The Orlando Business Journal spoke with a General Manager at a local boutique hotel in Winter Park, Jesse Martinez. While Martinez told the Orlando Business Journal that the hotel has seen an uptick in small scale corporate events, they still know the road to recovery will be a long one:

The Alfond Inn | A Boutique Winter Park, FL Hotel
Credit: The Alfond Inn

“Covid-19 has caused an unprecedented disruption to the hospitality industry — to be frank, it has crippled us,” Martinez said. “Trying to figure out a post-pandemic recovery analysis is truly hard. What I can tell you is that industry experts still predict a 24- to 26-month recovery from 2019. That being said, my prediction is that we will see meaningful strides in the second quarter of 2021 and that is mainly due to the recent good news of the expedited distribution of the vaccine.”

Travel is starting to pick back up again in Orlando with the Orlando International Airport seeing more and more passengers returning, but it is sadly not enough. Orlando is the most visited destination in the United States, so the tourism industry is large and was booming before the pandemic surged. It will take time to recover from such a hard hit.

Orlando International Airport
Credit: WFLA

But there is hope — with the approval from the FDA of the first coronavirus vaccine, we could see a major financial recovery in the next year. Of course, only time will tell how the future plays out.

Both Universal Orlando and Walt Disney World are not immune to these struggles, either. Neither resort destination has been able to reopen all of their hotels and they continue to modify operations amid the ongoing pandemic.

Still, all of Orlando’s major theme parks have hit capacity during this holiday season, and with the roll-out of an effective vaccine to battle the coronavirus we could see theme parks raise their capacity once again. The Disney World theme parks have already raised their modified capacity from 25% to 35% during the pandemic. Increased capacity means more visitors to the theme parks, which could help the hotels in the Orlando area.

Related: Does the COVID Vaccine Need Disney, More Than Disney Needs It?

Do you think it could take two more years before Orlando hotels see a full recovery? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

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