Never Forget: 20 years after 9/11, hotel industry veterans remember the impact of the terrorist attacks

Excerpt from Long Live Lodging: Lodging Leaders Podcast – listen to the full podcast here

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Comparing and contrasting how ‘external events’ alter hospitality sector, experts see strong post-pandemic comeback

As hospitality industry leaders and analysts dissect COVID-19’s enduring jolt on hotel performance, they frequently refer to 9/11 as an historical point of reference on how the post-pandemic economic recovery might unfold.

This Saturday marks 20 years since the terrorist attacks killed nearly 3,000 people and injured 6,000 others in New York City, Washington, D.C., and Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

Many of those killed were employed in the travel and tourism industry, including airlines, hotels and restaurants, making the event even more horrific for millions of other hospitality workers.

Most Americans born before Sept. 11, 2001, remember where they were when they learned about the terrorist attacks on our homeland. The industry veterans Lodging Leaders interviewed were no different.

Paul Breslin is Managing Director at Horwath HTL Atlanta, an Asset Manager. He also is an Executive in residence for lodging at Georgia State University, J. Mack Robinson College of Business, Cecil B. Day School of Hospitality.

On 9/11 Breslin was managing the Sheraton Atlanta. He was in his office when his wife called and asked if he’d seen the news. He went to the hotel’s bar and restaurant where TV news was broadcasting the early stages of the attacks.

“It was just unbelievable,” Breslin said. “I knew it was going to change everything.”

The hotel was nearly full, including a large group of employees of Dow Chemical undergoing Six Sigma training.

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