Over the past two weeks, we have shared stories with you about restaurants operating under the climate of the current pandemic. Restaurants are among the many businesses in the hospitality industry that have faced challenges in adjusting to the new reality, but hotels have been sorely affected as well. Due to stay-at-home orders, millions of people canceled their vacation and work trips, forcing thousands of hotels around the country to stop welcoming their guests. Only 21.6% of hotel rooms in the U.S. were occupied between March 29 and April 4, a 68% drop compared to the same week last year.
This week's story highlights the experience of SeaStrawsCo client Adrift Hospitality as they prepare to reopen their hotels and services. Adrift Hospitality is a collection of hotels and restaurants located across coastal Washington and Oregon. In mid-March, they temporarily closed their five hotels (Adrift Hotel, Inn at Discovery Coast, Boardwalk Cottages, Shelburne Hotel, and Ashore Hotel) and two restaurants (Pickled Fish and Shelburne Hotel and Pub). Adrift Hospitality shared that their team made this difficult decision in solidarity with other lodging partners in Oregon’s Pacific and Washington’s Clatsop counties, aiming to limit the spread of the virus in their community and to keep their staff and guests safe.
According to analytics, the U.S. hospitality and leisure industry lost 7.7 million jobs in April. The job loss in this industry was more than three times greater than in education and health services, which was the second most impacted sector. Adrift Hospitality was among the many businesses in the hotel industry for whom closures of their hotels and restaurants meant temporarily laying off some of their employees. Since closing their restaurants and hotels in March, Adrift Hospitality was able to bring back a substantial amount of their workforce after qualifying for a PPP loan. Currently, the Adrift Hospitality team is working hard on reopening their restaurants and welcoming guests back at their hotels.
Good news for Washington foodies: Shelburne Pub recently opened for takeout and delivery, and Pickled Fish is planning to open under the same mode of operation next week. To accommodate the shift, these restaurants revamped their menus and are ready to welcome hungry eaters.
Normal sit-down dining might not be possible for a while in the current reality. Adrift Hospitality believes that al fresco dining will be a great alternative to the dining room experience. Al fresco dining means eating outside, which creates space and will rebound faster compared to indoor seating. "We are looking at ways to reimagine our spaces to create more space and more safety in between people," shared Madeline Moore, Adrift Hospitality social media manager. In the beautiful Pacific Northwest, the scenery of being outdoors in the summertime may even benefit the overall dining experience.
Projections for the future of the hospitality industry might not be very bright. But Adrift Hospitality is taking a more optimistic approach and looking forward to "all of the small ways in which the industry can learn from this pandemic." The company believes that the new reality will promote heightened awareness and transparency of cleaning standards among hospitality businesses. Moreover, Adrift Hospitality hopes that after the pandemic has passed, sustainability will come more into focus for many businesses in the industry. "It gives many of us an opportunity to rethink our business model and make sure that we are doing things right by both employees and customers," shared the Adrift Hospitality team.
Even after a substantial decline in cases, with travel bans in place and most public events canceled, the hotel industry will continue experiencing a decreased flow of tourists for the near future. "Until consumer confidence is high, we will continue to be lean and thoughtful in how we operate to ensure long term sustainability," said Madeline about Adrift Hospitality's plans in the face of summer without the usual crowds of vacation goers.
“Our community is our workforce, our families, our friends” and “the role we play in keeping families afloat during a crisis like this is incredibly important, ” believes Adrift Hospitality. As one of the largest employers in Pacific County, Adrift Hospitality puts emphasis on a responsible reopening plan. Helping local communities and the well-being of their staff is one of the top priorities for Adrift Hospitality during the current crisis: “We have both the health and safety of our community and the economic role we play at the top of our minds.” If you are interested in supporting Adrift Hospitality in these uncertain times, consider purchasing a gift certificate here.
Written by Kathrine Serebrianski