Hello RCTT Hoteliers:
Despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, our hospitality industry in Rancho Cordova has shown great resilience. In many cities across the nation, hotels have closed. Fortunately, here in Rancho Cordova, all lodging properties hotels have remained open through the entire pandemic. In addition, Rancho Cordova lodging properties have maintained occupancy rates higher than the national average over the past five months. For most of this period, Rancho Cordova has out preformed our neighboring markets. For the past month, Rancho Cordova is running at 56% occupancy, which is 13% above the national average.
Nevertheless, our industry has been hit harder than any other industry due to the impact of COVID-19. We all feel that here in Rancho Cordova. Nationally, according to U.S. Travel Association, 51% of all hospitality jobs have been lost since the pandemic began. That equates to over 8-million jobs lost in hospitality since March, 2020. Strikingly, 38% of all jobs lost due to the pandemic have occurred in the hospitality industry. According to census data, almost half of all Americans have reported the loss of income from March through early July. These are very sobering statistics.
At Rancho Cordova Travel & Tourism (RCTT), we have taken an active role in advocating for our industry and a local, state and federal level. We have been working with local city officials on a grant that will assist RCTT move forward with renewal of the TBID and a temporary recovery district that will position RCTT in a strong place to maximize recovery efforts once the time is right. We have also been assisting with outreach to the Rancho Cordova Police Department, Sacramento District Attorney’s office and City of Rancho Cordova on issues surrounding crime at hotels. These efforts are continuing, but thus far, have driven positive results in a couple important cases.
On a state level, through my roles on the CalTravel board of directors, I have been actively involved in outreach to legislators on matters surrounding stimulus for the travel and tourism industry, and have worked in proactive ways with other tourism stakeholders to carry important messaging to the Governor Gavin Newsom’s office. CalTravel is supporting a $45-million effort to support the state tourism bureau, Visit California. Those funds, if approved by legislators, will help our region get on its feet more quickly.
Additionally, I have been working closely with U.S. Travel on industry stimulus and support at the federal level. In May, I had the distinct honor to join Tori Barnes, VP of Public Affairs and Policy at U.S. Travel, in a Capitol Hill (Zoom) briefing in front of nearly 70 Senate and House of Representatives legislators and staff regarding the need for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) to cover 501(c)6 DMOs. This gave me an opportunity share our specific story of impacts to Rancho Cordova. It has been a long battle, and I have personally signed and sent over 60 letters to federal elected officials advocating for PPP for DMOs like ours. Fortunately, with the recent Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions, or HEROES Act that came out of the house, but stalled in the Senate, and perhaps more importantly, in the Health, Economic Assistance, Liability Protection and Schools Act, HEALS Act to come out of the Senate a few days ago, PPP for DMOs is included. We expect this legislation to pass in some form within three weeks. This will be a huge help for RCTT, as budgets have been slashed.
For lodging properties specifically, I have been drafting letters supporting the positions of the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) and California Hotel & Lodging Association (CHLA) which has asked for several areas of relief and support for hotels, from expanded use of PPP to debt service relief. We have also been working with Meeting Planners International (MPI), American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) and other trade organizations to further the meetings and events businesses.
At RCTT, Marketing Manager Leena Riggs and I have been putting effort in social media and personal relationships to encourage use of local businesses. Restaurants, breweries, recreational outlets like American River Raft Rentals and Sacramento State Aquatic Center and other small businesses have appreciated this support as they go through extraordinary challenges.
Much more can be shared in time, but I want you to know that our industry will persevere, and RCTT will exit this pandemic with bold plans to enhance our community and economic future for lodging properties and other businesses.