ELFA recently sent out an e-mail to members covering topics that help to offer immediate financial relief. If you are a member and did not receive this e-mail, please e-mail Executive Director Louis Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org so we can ensure we have a best e-mail address for future ELFA e-mail updates.
With each area, the key has been to be pro-active – acting now before finances and resources make situations more dire and more difficult to overcome.
Financing / Debt Service:
Connect with your lender immediately on payment deferrals (3-6 mo.), interest-only status, or other creative strategies. The banking industry is healthy, unlike the 2008 financial crisis, they are expecting these calls, and to date this is showing to be highly effective for those hoteliers who are pro-actively in contact.
Utilities / Telecom:
Reach out to your local providers of all services and request deferrals, abatements, or other remedies to assist during the next 90-120 days. This may also involve reaching out and connecting to your local legislators and municipal leaders requesting utilities relief. This also is proving highly effective.
Telecoms can be a little more difficult as these are often larger corporate entities without a strong local connection. Suspending premium services and other per room costs that accumulate monthly should be a target, along with pricing relief for 90-120 days on other services. BHL Partners, an ELFA sponsor that helps assemble lower cost telecom packages, has offered their assistance to members wanting guidance through the telecom process at no charge. Please find them on our Sponsors page.
Choice Hotels has released several notices concerning franchisee fee relief during this crisis. ELFA continues to communicate with Choice leadership regarding assistance and support to match the level of difficulty many of our members are facing.
While existing relief programs are different than other brands have put forth, Choice Hotels has stated their commitment to working with individual properties who are facing more difficult challenges than others, where location, geography, and government mandates have made conditions more dire. Please reach out to ELFA at the e-mail address above, or connect with your ELFA Regional Director for information on who and how to connect with Choice Hotels regarding additional relief for your property.
Econo Lodge Area Director Support:
There have been changes underway in this support program since the beginning of the year. If you have not been contacted by a member of Choice’s Franchise Relations team and need AD assistance, please continue to utilize the contacts provided earlier for your region.
You can find that information here.
Local Government / Law Enforcement:
We highly encourage all members to also reach out to and connect with your local government and representatives on hospitality tax, accommodations tax, and other local relief efforts to assist with declined revenue and employee support. We are seeing several communities and county entities offer assistance back to local stakeholders from proceeds from these funds. With events and travel marketing curtailed, much of these budgets are now facing budget surpluses, though they also face significant declines in revenue alongside. It will vary from location to location, but it always helps to stay connected and have your voice heard.
We have experienced instances of law enforcement in certain communities not participating in helping to expel transient guests who are refusing to pay, and claiming protections from many non-eviction orders in place. We are working with industry partners in guidance in this area to better assist our members as situations develop. Please stay tuned, but in the meantime please be diligent and remain on the best terms possible with your local law enforcement agencies. “Guest” vs “Tenant” and enforcing “trespassing” laws vs “evictions” are areas we are working to explore and better help guide enforcement efforts for the protection and safety of hoteliers, your staff, and other guests.