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Portland hotels see 'significant' room cancellations; travel conference postponed

More than 800 visitors scheduled to attend the Go West Summit in Portland must change travel plans due to postponement.

PORTLAND, Ore. — Hotel operators in Portland are beginning to see guest cancellations due to concerns over the coronavirus.

The Society Hotel in Northwest Portland reported 29 guests have called to cancel reservations within the past three days.

“We have seen a significant increase in cancellations for the entire month of March, and into April,” said Tiffany Jackson, assistant general manager at the Society Hotel.

Other hotel operators in Portland, speaking on the condition of anonymity, admit they’ve also seen a noticeable uptick in guest cancellations.

An international travel conference at the Oregon Convention Center scheduled for March 24-27 has been postponed until late summer. The Go West Summit was expected to bring more than 800 attendees to Portland.


“Never before in the history of Go West Summit have we rescheduled, but the health and security of our attendees dictated this decision,” wrote Mary Motsenbocker, Go West Summit president on the event website.

Organizers of other conferences and conventions scheduled for Portland, including a specialty coffee expo, are taking precautions and monitoring the situation closely.

RELATED: Timeline: Coronavirus in Oregon, Washington

Travel Portland reminded guests that the city is open for business and travel is not restricted.

“Based on conversations with our venue and hotel partners, hospitality facilities have put enhanced cleaning and public hygiene measures, such as additional hand sanitizer stations and prioritization of high-touch areas into place,” explained Megan Conway of Travel Portland.

Travel Portland and the Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association said it is too early to determine the full impact of recent cancellations on the lodging industry. Room reservation data is still being collected from local hotel operators and won’t be available for several weeks.

RELATED: Astoria preparing for cruise ship passengers, schedule changes due to coronavirus

The tourism industry in Oregon generates $3.6 billion annually and employs 115,000 people, according to the U.S. Travel Association.

Tourism dollars declined steeply from 2007 to 2009, down nearly 10 percent but the industry fully recovered by 2012 and has since expanded greatly.

Tourism in Oregon, including local spending, contributes to about 4% of Oregon’s overall economy.