Hotel operations impacted by supply chain issues

Published 8:00 am Wednesday, December 15, 2021

Supply chain disruptions keep worrying hotel businesses about high prices and shortages, impacting the operations of more than eight in 10 surveyed hotels and nearly three in four hotel operators, a recent survey shows.

According to a November survey of American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) members, business revenue has been seriously disruptive and negatively impacting their hotels in the United States. 

A general manager of the Super 8 by Wyndham of Brookhaven hotel said that he thinks everyone — no matter the business — is having to deal with supply chain issues. “What we order today, we might get in a month,” he said. He did not want his name used. “We hear it’s because of the factories we get our supplies from. They are dealing with not enough employees, too.”

More than 85 percent of the 500 respondents reported that supply chain disruptions were having a moderate or significant impact on their operations, while more than half say the problem has grown worse during the past three months. Nearly 75 percent say supply chain issues are having a negative impact on business revenue.

Sallie Williford of The Inn on Whitworth said she wasn’t following the news when she started noticing how hard it was to get things usually purchased second nature. “I was frustrated and didn’t understand what was going on,” she said. “I had noticed that the company [from which] we usually buy our little shampoos, soaps and so on kept back-ordering [things] forever. They’d say they are coming in and it would just get back-ordered again. This happened again and again and again. They just kept postponing the order and I finally realized this was a global thing, not just something with this company.”

The impact on operations, the association said, could have repercussions for employment and underscoring the need for targeted federal relief for hotel employees, such as the Save Hotel Jobs Act.

“Hotels have a complex supply chain that requires regular procurement of a wide range of goods and services each day,” said Chip Rogers, president and CEO of AHLA.  “And whether it’s production backups or shipping delays, supply chain disruptions are compounding hotels’ existing problems and increasing operating costs during an already tough time. This survey highlights just how widespread these challenges are for hoteliers.”

The organization declared further that it was time for “Congress to pass the Save Hotel Jobs Act, so hotel employees can get the relief they need during these difficult times.”

When it comes to shortages, everyone seems to feel the pinch. Bloomberg reported in November that Toyota slashed its September production due to supply chain problems and Apple reported a $6 billion loss due to production issues.

Hospitality supplier Front Desk Supply was offering a $50 discount on generic hotel supply orders more than $500 for struggling hotel and front desk managers, said its director of commercial operations Mark Zisek on PRweb.com.

“Hotels have been hit by repeated challenges, starting with the pandemic and now … battling supply chain struggles,” Zisek said Dec. 1 to PRweb.com. “Now, at the end of the year, we’re seeing that these orders can’t be put off anymore and our data shows a spike of 30 percent in generic supply purchases into December.”

Respondents in the survey do not expect the supply chain disruptions to be resolved any time soon, with 46 percent saying they expect disruptions to last six months to a year and another 36 percent expecting them to last more than a year.

Other survey highlights include the following:

Percentage of hotels experiencing a lack of availability for

• linens and other soft goods — 85 percent

• food and beverage supplies — 76 percent

• day-to-day cleaning and housekeeping supplies — 72 percent

Percentage of hotels experiencing increased costs for:

• day-to-day cleaning and housekeeping supplies — 79 percent

• linens and other soft goods — 77 percent

• food and beverage supplies — 77 percent

The American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) is the sole national association representing all segments of the U.S. lodging industry.

To learn more, visit www.ahla.com.