Local hotels recovering after the impact of COVID-19

Reopening The Ozarks

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Some hotels seem to be bouncing back after the impact COVID-19 had on tourism and local events.

The owner of Elliott Lodging, Gordon Elliott, says they have climbed from about 20% capacity in March to over 50% in June.

“We’ve climbed to almost 50% – and it’s been rising fairly quick,” said Elliott. “The newer, taller properties are hit harder than the ones that are decently priced or are walk-in, outside, that sort of thing.”

The advantage, according to Elliott, is having rooms that connect to the outside.

Despite cancelled events and big tournaments, locals are renting rooms in order to ‘get away.’

Elliott says Rail Haven doesn’t depend on business travelers or large groups, but rather European cyclists, who plan to come in September.

At the peak of COVID-19 in Springfield, about 70% of staff were laid off at Elliott Lodging, but now most are back to work, while higher-end hotels might still be struggling.

“The biggest hit we took was probably reducing rates,” said Elliott. “Occupancy is pretty good for us, but rates have gone down for everybody, we gotta stay in there. That’s how we can hire the employees even at 50% of the revenue from last year, is we have more rooms rented at a cheaper price.”

Elliott says one major change he has seen is a shift from booking online to more people calling or coming in to book their room, which makes having a personable staff, according to Elliott, even more valuable.

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