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Author(s): Mansour Moussavi, Ph.D.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a substantial impact on operations in the hospitality industry in general and particularly in the hotel industry. The lockdown restrictions as well as the fear of contracting COVID-19 caused major layoffs, furloughs, and the termination of many hotel employees at both the managerial and staff levels. This work looks at the decline or stagnation in the number of U.S. hotel industry employees in hotel revenues before and during the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on employment in the hotel industry and its subsequent impact on enrollment in hospitality programs in higher education. As such, the two impacts presented here are: (1) the decrease in employment in the hospitality/hotel industry and (2) the decrease in student enrollment in hospitality programs at colleges and universities in the United States from 2015 through 2021. For this work, the author consciously decided to maintain anonymized data on the decline of enrollment at U.S. colleges and universities during the study periods to avoid further negative impacts on their student enrollment status. In addition, the employment data sources used in this work are primarily from the hotel industry with an emphasis on large hotel chain operations whose operations are more transparent and accessible than smaller operations.