Leaders in Maine’s hotel sector say this tourist season is a considerable improvement over last year, but the pandemic has exacerbated issues that they hope a new strategy will help address.
The freshly finished Dirigo Hospitality 2025 is described as a “reinvention” of workforce development by Hospitality Maine. “Margin Compression” is one of the problems addressed in the 15-page plan, which was adopted by the Hospitality Maine Education Foundation Board of directors in September.
According to industry executives, profitability is now constrained owing to increased food costs, new equipment, and personnel. Despite this, Greg Dugal, Hospitality Maine’s director of government affairs, “believes 2021 has been a success, according to him lodging performance exceeds overall taxable income in 2019, while restaurant performance is comparable to 2019”.
The five-year plan outlines a number of activities targeted at developing a talent pipeline. It aims to introduce young people to the hospitality business as early as elementary school, to collaborate with community colleges to improve training and hiring to reach out to underserved areas and to do industry research.
Traffic numbers are a strong predictor of how busy businesses may be over the holiday weekend. The Maine Turnpike Authority anticipates a 22% increase in toll transactions. The Government plans to disclose further traffic statistics in the coming week.