Travel Portland Sees Massive Decline In Tourism Revenue, Reduces Staff By 40%
Travel Portland, the destination marketing and management organization for the city, announced Wednesday it’s cutting staff by 40% due to a massive dropoff in tourism and hotel revenue amid the novel coronavirus outbreak.
“These unprecedented times are unfortunately calling for unprecedented measures,” Travel Portland President and CEO Jeff Miller said in a statement.
According to the organization, remaining staff will also see a reduction in salary, with the largest cuts from the CEO and executive levels. Those that are laid off will receive two weeks’ severance, three months of health benefits and a payout for accrued time off.
“As we have watched the city we love and have the honor of promoting suffer the impacts of this pandemic, we have had to reevaluate how we do our work,” Miller said. “The work we do now, both internally and externally, will define how Portland comes out of this when recovery begins. We are doing what we need to do now to ensure our ability to be poised and ready for this work.”
According to the most recent hotel and lodging metrics, the City of Portland showed a “devastating loss” of business that started to decline the first week of March.
For the week of March 15–21, room demand for lodging was 74.9% lower, with hotel revenue down 80.6% in comparison to the year prior.
For the following week of March 22 — typically a healthy week of business from occupants on spring break — the demand for lodging saw an even bigger dip: room demand was 79.4% lower and revenue was down by 85.5%. Hotels in the Portland area maintained an occupancy of just 15.5%, a decline of over 80%.
Travel Portland said it will continue to work on advocacy for the hospitality community, convention sales, marketing, communications and operations. Travel Portland and its partners are convening task forces to identify “the immediate and long-term needs” of the industry, and will assess the economic impact on local businesses and lodging.