Remember when we could make travel plans?
The once rising Hospitality industry is no more. I just now must accept that. I'm just not sure I'm ready?
I’ve never felt quite as lost as the feeling of the Hospitality and Tourism industry crashing around me. Since I was 19 working my way throughout Walt Disney World, I have been in love with resorts, travel, and everything in between. I remember walking down Main Street thinking this is the business to go into. This is the business that everyone classifies as the “fun” job, the “experiences” job, and the job that makes seeing the world seem like the “right thing to do”. That now seems like a strange memory as I see flights not operating into other countries. Just the other day I looked up flights to South Africa just to see how possible it was to visit family in December.
Out of curiosity I thought, ‘when do they even show flights that are able to be booked?’
My answer? Maybe September. Even then, it is one flight and is it even safe? The country that we used to just say “let’s go” to is now blocked off for any incoming visitors. If you do get lucky enough to get in somehow – some way count on a lonely two week stay in a hotel for quarantine.
This is all for safety of course. It is safety that is keeping so many people alive and I am incredibly thankful for that. It’s just unfortunate that the industry that brings incredible joy is the one that is being spiraled downward. The hospitality industry is the industry that can’t necessarily be a “working from home” job in order to survive. It is the industry that large groups of people gather to enjoy each other’s company or a certain type of music. The industry that brings different cultures together. The one that smiles even on the roughest of days.
I believe I can speak for anyone in the industry that I would rather go back to those long 16 hour days. I promise I wouldn't complain that my feet hurt or my back is sore. See, hospitality is also 24/7 – 365 days a year. There’s no closure on Christmas for hotels, or Disney, or planes getting loved ones home. Yet, here we are. We have hotels that are “suspending operations” and flights that are barely running. Walt Disney World has no lines in the summer, and restaurants are barely making cost. The employees that are being let go, or the ones that had to sit down and look at a veteran employee and tell them that it was their last day – can mourn. The stories of GM’s having to let go of 30+ employees in a day that they have worked with for years and of no fault of their own are struggling. Or the larger companies like the one I came from that let go thousands in one day. There’s no easy answer to this. There’s no “it’ll be over in December”.
There’s no real timeline for the industry. There's no month for when it will be safe or when companies will put traveling back into their budget.
So when you see I’m dyeing my hair a different color to not think about the change of my life’s plans, just remember this is a break-up for a lot of us in the industry.
We aren’t really sure what to get into next and some of us need some time to figure that out.
Our jobs were the "fun" jobs and it's strange to have a little less fun in this stressful world.