Things are not back to normal in the hotel-banquet business.
While plenty of in-person events have been held or are in the works, employers, and organizations are still hesitant about holding larger get-togethers.
Also, hotels and meeting spaces have yet to recover from the damage that came from lengthy capacity restrictions and closings.
All of this comes on top of a labor market that forced some hotels to reduce the number of available rooms, due to a lack of staff.
The latest surge in Covid-19 cases could put an added damper on activity.
To its credit, Kent County established an innovative $2 million program that will provide needed help, with funds coming from the federal rescue program.
The central Delaware county has seen a loss of many events that take advantage of Dover’s location
The county has a straightforward approach that uses room tax revenue figures and profit and loss statements to determine eligibility. Nonprofits, such as fire halls and senior centers, are eligible under another program.
The maximum grant is $50,000 and can be used for payroll costs and other expenses.
No such program has emerged in the largest banquet and meeting market – New Castle County.
The state’s most populous county has announced a number of uses for its rescue funds, but nothing has showed up on agendas. The county has kicked some money into a state business program.
Up north, hotels and banquet facilites have been hard hit by a continued decline in business travel that is expected to continue into the new year. Banquet and meeting business has also been hard hit by smaller weddings and other get-togethers.
Not helping is the current county room tax that was not suspended during the pandemic, even though New Castle County received a $300 million federal windfall that did not go to the two counties.
Some of that money was used to buy a hotel, which did reduce an excess inventory of rooms that grew worse during the pandemic.
Enjoy your weekend. This newsletter returns on Monday. – Doug Rainey, chief content officer.