Analysis: Nashville hospitality, leisure may not fully recover until mid-2022

Nashville Skyline
Posted at 3:44 PM, Aug 19, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-19 23:52:26-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — The Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce released its latest update to COVID-19's impact on Metro's economy Wednesday. One of its primary findings was that the hospitality and leisure sector may not return to pre-COVID-19 employment until mid-2022.

But that's not the story for every sector. According to the analysis, most sectors will return to pre-COVID-19 economic activity by the third quarter of 2021 - the only exception being hospitality and leisure.

With its delayed return, it is expected to pull down the unemployment for the region.

And with COVID-19 canceling concerts, conventions and sporting events it leaves a lasting Impression on hotels like the Hilton Nashville Airport.

"It’s been a huge challenge from a standpoint of all of our people are doing things that are outside of their normal jobs were running about 20 to 25% occupancy," said Leesa LeClaire, general manager.

A new national report shows that the hotel industry is facing foreclosures as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact the hospitality industry. The report by Trepp that $20.6 billion in hotel commercial mortgage-backed securities (CMBS) loans were 30 or more days delinquent as of July, compared to $1.15 billion as of December 2019. In fact, nearly one out of every four hotel CMBS loans are delinquent on payment.

It listed the mid-state as one of the country's areas with some of the most delinquencies, showing that in the Nashville, Davidson, Murfreesboro and Franklin hotels had 16 delinquent loans.

LeClaire says thankfully, her hotel will survive but she had to furlough and lay off several employees to stay afloat.

"It’s night and day, in 2019 we ran 83% occupancy and I am predicting that we’re not even probably going to do half of that in 2020," said LeClaire.

LeClaire says some businesses simply wont survive.

"We had different meetings with the Convention and Visitors Corporation, the mayor, just trying to pitch the fact that we think we can do what we do safely as long as people will work with us; to wear the mask to follow good hygiene practices and safe distancing," said LeClaire.

She says the numbers are low, but LeClaire is hopeful if everyone does their part to flatten the pandemic curve industries will bounce back.