A room attendant at downtown’s Luxe City Center, Bravilla is one of thousands of workers in the city’s largest industry, a sector that generates hundreds of millions of dollars in revenues every year. Her job is to give guests the most enjoyable experience possible by making the beds, cleaning the floors and polishing every piece of glass until it shines. If she does her job well, guests are happy and the hotel industry – as well as the local economy – benefits.
But the people who do this grueling work too often are not rewarded for it. More than 40 percent of L.A. hospitality workers are poor, unable to pay for basic necessities like rent and food.
What that means is that we are not taking care of the women and men who help take of our city and its guests.
A June 4 Los Angeles Times article reported that hotel rates for business travelers in North America surged 9.3 percent in April, coming within 3 percent of the peak pre-recession rates in fall 2008. Rates for leisure travelers also rose 7.3 percent. The report also indicated that rates will continue to increase as demand continues to rise. This is a big deal because it means travel (both leisure and business) is heading in a positive direction since the 2008 recession hit. A city like Los Angeles – that hosted a record 26.9 million visitors last year – has a great opportunity to capture this rise in tourism. As the number one employer in L.A. County, home to pristine beaches, year-round beautiful weather and other attractions, tourism is poised to be one of the primary sectors that will lead Los Angeles out of the recession.
However, Los Angeles has some major work to do to be a leader in tourism and to develop a sustainable model that equally benefits the industry,