NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Business travel is a big factor for hotels not bouncing back quickly from the pandemic despite a spike in leisure travel. That’s according to the American Hotel and Lodging Association that’s hosting job fairs for the hotel industry, including one in Nashville last week.

They say a lot of hotels are short-staffed because travel demand is going up but the industry itself is nowhere close to recovery because business travelers are not checking in.

“What we’re not seeing is the business travel,” said Rosanna Maietta, president and CEO of the AHLA Foundation. “Sixty percent of the hotel industry’s business comes from business meetings and conventions. That is nowhere near where it was in pre-pandemic levels. And we don’t anticipate that to happen until 2024 so we’re still far from recovery as the industry has seen it prior to the pandemic.”

She said the industry needs workers to accommodate for the rise in families traveling for vacation, and getting hired is part of helping the entire community’s economy bounce back.

“We see this jobs as important not just for the individual who’s taking the job but really for economic growth of a city,” Maietta said. “Each hotel really sees itself as part of the fabric of every community. If you think about not just the jobs that the hotel creates in the property itself but because we’re such a fixture in communities we create jobs at restaurants, the florist across the street, the bar, the pub, the little mini mart. So, there is a network of building up a full community. When a hotel goes into a downtrodden area, that community immediately becomes a springboard for growth.”

People can visit to apply for jobs at hotels in the Nashville area.