Some Great Falls hotels could temporarily close in the winter

Some Great Falls hotels could temporarily close in the winter
Posted at 3:13 PM, Oct 01, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-01 17:13:17-04

The hotel industry has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, but a report from the American Hotel and Lodging Association predicts it could get even worse.

Without more Congressional funding, an estimated 67% of hotels across the nation could foreclose within the next several months, the report says.

Back in May, more than half of small businesses in the hospitality industry temporarily closed across the country.

Here in Montana, the hotel industry is also hurting. Room demand in Great Falls isn’t as bad as originally projected, but experts say it’s still 20-to-40% lower than at this time last year.

Tourism in Great Falls has been on the decline, due to the closure of the U.S.-Canadian border and the east side of Glacier National Park.

Rebecca Engum, Great Falls Tourism executive director, says as winter approaches, hotels are bracing for an even slower season.

“Because there’s not as much demand in our market, and winter tends to see a slowdown for us, we might see properties close for the winter and then reopen as demand starts to increase,” she said.

Engum added that 20% of overnight visitors to Great Falls come from Canada.