Postponements, cancellations during coronavirus pandemic hurt hospitality industry in Hampton Roads

Posted at 2:32 PM, Mar 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-20 14:32:47-04

Postponements and cancellations during the coronavirus pandemic are hurting the hospitality industry in Hampton Roads.

With all of their convention business not gathering over the next 60 days, the Renaissance Hotel in Portsmouth will temporarily close its doors.

General Manager Chris Browell said at full capacity, the hotel employs 130 to 140 people.

He said it’s a difficult time for them. “As business started to cancel or postpone, we’ve been having frank conversations with them all along, so it wasn’t a surprise for the majority of them, but obviously once you hear the news and it’s a reality, it’s a tough pill to swallow,” Browell explained to News 3 in a phone interview.

Browell is hopeful this is just a temporary setback. “Our selling process is still in place and you know my director of sales yesterday was actually extremely busy yesterday with people calling and most of that is either people inquiring about future dates or the process of moving conferences to future dates,” Browell said. \

Friday morning, crews were removing furniture from the hotel, but it’s part of a renovation project the hotel started a while back and it will continue during the shutdown.

Overall, hotel occupancy rates are down dramatically in Hampton Roads. February had a well over 70% occupancy rate. It’s closer to 10 percent currently.

Several hotels have furloughed staffers temporarily, but all are continuing to recruit new business.