Coronavirus and Meetings
to see Northstar Meetings Group’s comprehensive and continuing coverage of how coronavirus is affecting meetings.
Updated March 25, 2020, 1:40 p.m. EDT with new song recommendations submitted by our readers.
It's more apparent with each passing day: COVID-19 is an epic crisis for our industry, our country and our world. That's the big picture. On a micro level, and also disturbing: Many of us are stuck in our houses with our kids!
I've noticed a common theme in our business, from internal calls with the Northstar team to the message hospitality leaders have taken to the White House: Let's worry about our people first. "How's everyone doing?" is the first question I hear in meetings and press conferences.
We are all worried about our businesses, but right now the best we can do is support each another. For our part, we will continue to keep you informed with daily coverage related to COVID-19's impact on the meetings industry – a community of millions of individuals trying to get by one day at a time.
Wanted: $300 Billion ASAP
With occupancy dipping into the single digits, properties are shutting down across the country. Millions of employees are losing their jobs. The urgent need right now is for a large and fast infusion of capital. On Tuesday, industry leaders asked the federal government for more than $300 billion right away: $150 billion in immediate relief for the hotel industry and an additional $100 billion for travel-related businesses like shops, attractions and restaurants. U.S. airlines are hoping for $58 billion.
A who's who of hospitality executives implored President Trump this week, first and foremost, for help in paying their employees. Hilton's CEO, Chris Nassetta, laid out the scope of the crisis: "When our owners are running at 8 or 9 percent, we're shutting hotels, so all of those employees are being furloughed or laid off right now, day by day. We're laying off tens of thousands because our owners can't pay [their salaries], and so the timing is really important. One of the things we want to talk about is trying to create a fund for those people in order to stop that from happening."
The President asked how much money that would require, and Nassetta told him: "Our quarterly payroll for the industry is $45 billion, so you can sort of scale it from there."
As the 25-minute meeting wrapped up, the President said, "We're going to take care of it. We'll be bigger, stronger, better than ever before, and it won't take that long."
Here's a full recap of the meeting.
My Coronavirus Playlist
Music makes everything better. These songs, compiled with input from the NMG content team, are meant to relieve stress and keep you going during this difficult time. Tell me your favorites and I'll share them next time!
How are you coping? How can we help? Please let me know.