Hotels pushing 'elopement packages' to stay afloat during coronavirus pandemic

Hotels pivoting from big weddings to elopement to stay afloat

Hotels are turning to elopement and micro weddings in order to keep business afloat amid the coronavirus pandemic. FOX Business’ Jeff Flock with more.

Hotels are now offering "elopement packages" as a way to maintain revenue streams amid the coronavirus pandemic, allowing people to host "micro-weddings" attended by between 2 and 20 people at smaller venues and lounges as an alternative to big, traditional ceremonies.

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FOX Business Network's Jeff Flock spoke with Nabil Moubayed, the general manager of Chicago's Kimpton Gray Hotel about the surge in demand for smaller, family-centric weddings over the last year.

"We have a lot of people who are currently rebooking their weddings and they're rebooking them into this year and early next year," Moubayed said during an appearance on "Varney & Co." "We're running out of space on those Saturdays."

Moubayed showed Flock a spacious library and lounge, explaining that despite its unorthodox appearance, the hotel has largely pivoted to hosting events in these smaller venues.

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The historic drop in travel demand since March has made it difficult for hotels to keep their doors open and retain all of their staff. In September, the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) reported that 68% of hotels nationwide had cut their full-time staffing levels by more than half from before the pandemic.

However, some of the country's largest hotel chains and smaller boutique locations alike have told FOX Business that they have already seen signs of a return of travel confidence, due in part to vaccines and other medical advancements to mitigate the spread of the virus.

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For example, Best Western has seen its revenue decrease by 35% over the past year, but has also recorded an increase in future bookings.

The pent-up demand for travel among Americans, as well as the rollout of multiple vaccines, is likely to continue the rebound of the hospitality industry over the next year.

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