It Ain’t Over, ‘Till it’s Over - by Al Gilbert & Philip Jaw

Updated: Sep 16, 2021

The only thing worse than dealing with death or divorce, is termination of employment - especially when the cause of termination is not your fault. That’s how Philip Law felt when he had to terminate three sales colleagues at each of several hotels he was managing. It’s difficult enough when a hospitality property cannot perform due to a physical calamity like a fire, flood, hurricane, or earthquake. But shutting down and locking the doors because of an invisible virus - is hard to explain.

18 months later, the hospitality industry is out of intensive care, but still in rehab. While leisure travel has rebounded, business travel has not, so full recovery is still some distance away. What keeps the hospitality patient alive are the people: the housekeeping cleaners who take pride in the providing a clean and safe room for guests: the front desk staff who welcome their guests with a smile behind their masks; the breakfast restaurant workers who offer to-go breakfast bags, or customized buffet orders; and the sales staff who call on clients, virtually or in person, and encourage them not to give up on the benefits of travel. If it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a global community to revive the hospitality industry.

A selection of Philip' Jaw's photography from his Icelandic trip.

Philip Jaw knows this truth. He traveled to Iceland in June when they opened their borders and asked visitors to return. Appropriately, Iceland required a Covid test upon arrival. Philip loved Iceland taking photos throughout the country and marveling at a live volcano. I wonder where he will travel next?

Our theme is “Rising Strong Together.” As members of the travel and hospitality industry, we all must be the first responders to this crisis of rebuilding and rehiring. We should lead by example by making a trip down the block to our local restaurant, or across our state and country by air and car. Al Gilbert and his wife and recently took a one week road trip to Oregon with their two dogs. While the hospitality experience was clearly different, and in some ways limited, they could tell that the hotel staff at the Best Western Plus Boulder Falls, and the restaurant staff in all the restaurants, were glad to see them and appreciated their business.

To conclude where we started: Philip Jaw is pleased to report that 18 months later, approximately 25% of the staff terminated last March have now been rehired. Leisure travel remains relatively strong, and clients have rescheduled postponed leisure events such as family birthdays and weddings. Also, some group travel is returning with professional sports travel.

The biggest hurdle to financial normalcy is the lack of international travelers. Hopefully, the medical conditions and political climate will soon lift US travel restrictions against inbound

Until then, “It ain’t over, ‘til it's over.” We must continue “Rising Strong Together” and keep each other safe.

Philip Jaw is the Area Director of Sales for the Huntington Hotel Group which currently has four hotels in and around San Jose: Residence Inn San Jose Airport; SpringHill Suites San Jose Airport; Courtyard San Jose Campbell; and Homewood Suites Sunnyvale Silicon Valley. He also serves as the Treasurer for the Silicon Valley Business Travel Association and on the board of the Silicon Valley Concierge Association. In his spare time, Philip enjoys working out, traveling, exploring the outdoors, hiking with a 30 lb bag of camera gear looking for the perfect moments. He also enjoys playing and coaching basketball along with learning new languages, currently Spanish on Duolingo.

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