How Black Hotel Owners Are Coping With Coronavirus Shutdowns
Photo Credit: Host welcome mother and daughter at hotel / house rental / bed and breakfast accommodation

Photo Credit: Host welcome mother and daughter at hotel / house rental / bed and breakfast accommodation

How Black Hotel Owners Are Coping With Coronavirus Shutdowns

black owned business , news
Parker Diakite
Parker Diakite Aug 11, 2020

A new study shows the dire impact COVID-19 is having on Black-owned businesses.

41% of Black-owned businesses across the country shut down between February and April, according to a study done by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and the University of California Santa Cruz.   

During that same time frame, 32% Latino-owned businesses closed, 26% Asian-owned closed, and 17% of white-owned businesses closed their doors for good – making Black-owned businesses the hardest by the coronavirus pandemic.

Like so many industries across the board, the travel industry has suffered a significant loss in profits.

The hospitality industry alone has reported a 117% drop in operating profits compared to 2019.

Some Black hotel owners said they saw cancellations of all their reservations and deposits for rooms that patrons planned for the future.

As businesses start to reopen their doors, here’s how some Black-owned hotel owners are navigating during this difficult time.

The CEO of Akwaaba, Monique Greenwood, said she had to furlough most of her staff to deal with the financial challenges of shutting down five inns, as reported in Cusine Noir Mag. Greenwood has turned The Mansion at Noble Lane location in Pennsylvania to a place for outdoor dining.

“We sit on 23 acres of land, so there is plenty of space for social distancing. We have lots of outdoor seating spaces. We’re serving breakfast out on the porch and out on the veranda, and folks are feeling really good about that,” she added.

For Deirdre Mathis, founder Wanderstay, the first Black-owned hostel in the United States, she told Travel Noire in an interview that she received over 150 cancellations losing over $75,000 in revenue in the first two weeks of the pandemic.

“Our occupancy went from an average of 65%-70% to a shocking 5%,” she said.

Mathis said they’ve been using this time to raise awareness and funds for the non-profit arm of her business, Wander Abroad.

In addition to raising awareness for traveling abroad, Mathis’ said she got creative with her business model by accommodating nurses, hospital staff, and international students.

At Magnolia House Inn in Virginia, said they lost 80 percent of its gross revenue to room cancellations and guest refunds.

Owners Joyce and Lankford Blair said while they have received cancellations through October, they have since welcomed their first guests back on June 14. Guestrooms are available but the availability is limited.

“We will remain in a mode of caution through this year, in hopes that with lower rates of infection and an effective vaccine, we all can relax into a more trusting manner of operations,” the couple said.