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Great Falls hotel owner optimistic about new year

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Posted at 5:43 PM, Dec 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-31 12:37:34-05

GREAT FALLS — With a new year always comes the hope for a better and brighter future, but especially after 2020 and especially for businesses like hotels that have been impacted by the pandemic. While business may be picking up, what that might mean for 2021 was still hard to try to gauge as of Wednesday.

If you receive a barrage of e-mails from companies urging you to book hotels in 2021, you might wonder what the hotel industry is going to be like in 2021.

Peter Jennings owns the Hotel Arvon in Great Falls. He's not expecting the new year to be as bad for business as 2020: "I think the indication of vaccine efficacy is pretty good,” said Jennings.

As of Wednesday, the hotel's occupancy rate was only about half of what it normally is.

According to the American Hotel and Lodging Association, a recent survey found that without further federal relief an estimated 71 percent of hotels wouldn't last another six months at the projected revenue and occupancy levels at the time of the survey.

"I don't think that, if the economic impact of COVID continues for another year, that we would be able to sustain it,” Jennings said.

As tough as COVID has been though, it has helped the hotel be better prepared for whatever happens in 2021.

"It's a competitive business to begin with, then you throw something in like a pandemic it really teaches you to become a lot more efficient and focus on your budget,” said Jennings.

He said the new stimulus checks being mailed out this week could help, as people may be more willing to travel now that they have a little more money.