More than 70% concerned about safety of hotel employees and guests

WASHINGTON (Oct. 3, 2023) – More than seven in ten Americans would be deterred from booking a hotel room in Los Angeles if hotels there are forced to house homeless people next to paying guests. That’s according to a new national poll commissioned by the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) and conducted by Morning Consult.

Los Angeles residents are set to vote in March 2024 on whether to require all local hotels to house homeless people next to paying guests as part of a ballot initiative proposed by Unite Here, a labor union that represents LA-area hotel workers.

If Unite Here’s ballot initiative passes, LA would become the first city in American history to force hotels to house homeless people next to paying guests. The AHLA poll highlights the dramatic deterrent a policy like this would be to tourism and hotel stays in the city.

The poll of 2,203 U.S. adults was conducted Sept. 18-20, 2023. Key findings include:

  • •  72% of Americans said they would be deterred from booking a hotel room in Los Angeles if hotels there are forced to house homeless people next to paying guests. That number jumps to 83% among those who have previously visited LA.
  • •  71% of Americans said they would be deterred from visiting Los Angeles for leisure or vacation if hotels there are forced to house homeless people next to paying guests. That number jumps to 80% among those who have previously visited LA.
  • •  70% of Americans said they would be deterred from attending a business conference in Los Angeles if hotels there are forced to house homeless people next to paying guests. That number jumps to 79% among those who have previously visited LA.
  • •  Equal numbers of Americans (71%) said they are concerned about the safety risks to hotel staff and guests caused by forcing all LA hotels to house homeless people next to paying guests.
  • •  71% of Americans said they are concerned about hotels reducing the amount or quality of amenities if the city forces all LA hotels to house homeless people next to paying guests.
  • •  70% of Americans said they are concerned about the risk of damage to hotel property caused by forcing all LA hotels to house homeless people next to paying guests.
  • •  75% of Americans said they are concerned that forcing all LA hotels to house homeless people next to paying guests ignores the root causes of homelessness, and 74% said they are concerned that the policy fails to address long-term housing needs of homeless people.

According to the City of Los Angeles Initiative, Referendum & Recall Petition Handbook (page7), Unite Here can withdraw the ballot initiative as long as it does so 88 days before the election, or Dec. 8.

So far, however, Unite Here has refused to take this commonsense step. Instead, Unite Here leaders have made their insistence on housing homeless people in hotels next to paying guests a focal point in collective bargaining negotiations with LA-area hotels. Unite Here has even demanded that hotels support the dangerous practice.

Additionally, the Los Angeles City Council has yet to hold a hearing regarding the devastating economic impacts this policy would have on the city. AHLA is calling on the council to hold an economic impact hearing as soon as possible and to enact a resolution in opposition to Unite Here’s homeless in hotels ballot measure to more clearly inform the public of the council’s stance on the measure.

“Homelessness is a serious and complex problem that can only be addressed by professional social and health care workers with specialized training. Unite Here’s insistence on forcing hotel workers and guests to deal with this issue is dangerous,” said AHLA President & CEO Chip Rogers. “If Unite Here succeeds in turning all LA hotels into homeless shelters, eventually there will be no hotels – and no hotel workers – left in the city. Safety concerns will prevent workers from taking hotel jobs and drive tourists to other locations. That’s a fact, and these poll results prove it. That’s why we’re calling on Unite Here to drop its dangerous demand to turn hotels into homeless shelters – in LA or any other city where they might try it.”

To schedule an interview with an AHLA representative to discuss Unite Here’s fight to force hotels to house homeless people next to paying guests, email media@ahla.com.

Morning Consult survey methodology

The survey by Morning Consult on behalf of AHLA was conducted Sept. 18-20, 2023, among 2,203 U.S. adults across the country. The interviews were conducted online and the data were weighted to approximate a target sample of adults based on gender, age, race, educational attainment, and region. Topline results have a margin of error of plus or minus 2%.

About AHLA

The American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) is the largest hotel association in America, representing more than 30,000 members from all segments of the industry nationwide – including iconic global brands, 80% of all franchised hotels, and the 16 largest hotel companies in the U.S. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., AHLA focuses on strategic advocacy, communications support, and workforce development programs to move the industry forward. Learn more at www.ahla.com.

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