Survey shows mayors find hotels vital to local economies

(More than 100 mayors were polled for the survey between July and December 2016, with 20 percent claiming tourism and hospitality as the largest sector of their local economy.)

A new survey released by the American Hotel & Lodging Association sheds insight into the impact hotels have on local communities via the perspective of mayors and how they view tourism, lodging and the hotel industry.

The U.S. Conference of Mayors worked with the AH&LA to compile answers from more than 100 mayors between July and December 2016, with 20 percent of mayors claiming tourism and hospitality as the largest sector of their local economy, ranking second only to healthcare, which was touted as the most important aspect of local economies by 28 percent of respondents. In addition, nearly two-thirds of respondents claimed that tourism and hospitality (including hotels and lodging, restaurants and foodservice and convention centers and entertainment venues) contribute more than 10 percent to their local economy.

“The hotel and lodging industry is very important to the economic vitality of our cities,” Tom Cochran, CEO & executive director at the USCM, said in a statement. “This was especially brought to our attention following 9/11, and the economic fall out of tourism and travel to our cities. The hotel and lodging industry is an important piece of our nation's metro economies' engine which drives our nation's economic growth.”

Nine out of 10 mayors said in the survey that their communities would benefit from additional hotels, inns or bed and breakfasts. Many of the respondents cited increased tax revenue generated by hotels and lodging as tertiary benefits to additional hotel operations, while the main reasons for hotel development were new business opportunities, job creation and increased activity at existing local businesses. In addition, 70 percent of mayors said hotels and lodging provide the best benefits and wages within the tourism sector, with convention centers and entertainment venues consisting of 18 percent of these responses, followed by foodservice at 11 percent. A further 68 percent of respondents said hotels are the largest contributors to their local economy's destination marketing fund.

“Hotels are an integral part of the fabric of each community across the United States,” Katherine Lugar, president and CEO of the AHLA, said in a statement. “From coast to coast, the industry proudly invests in the communities in which they call home by creating jobs, supporting long-term career opportunities, generating significant tax revenue, contributing to the local and state economies, and encouraging community development. From global brands to the small inns and bed and breakfasts that line Main Streets across the country, we look forward to strengthening our partnerships with mayors and other elected officials to ensure continued growth in the months and years to come.”