US hotel occupancy hits highest point since mid-March

People are traveling amid Covid summer, which has boosted struggling industry

TRD NATIONAL /
Aug.August 20, 2020 04:00 PM
(iStock)
(iStock)

As travelers throughout the U.S. try to make the most of a surreal summer, hotel occupancy has slowly improved, and has finally hit the 50 percent mark for the first time since mid-March.

While overall occupancy has risen for 17 of the last 18 weeks, growth in demand has slowed, according to the latest occupancy rate from industry tracker STR. Occupancy is also about 30 percent below the same time last year. In mid-April, nationwide occupancy stood at 23 percent.

The latest data — for the week ending Aug. 15 — also showed average daily room rate was $101.41, which was 23 percent below year-to-date figures; and revenue per available room was $50.87, about 46 percent the same time last year.

The stubbornly low numbers are not surprising given that hotels have been decimated during the pandemic, which has resulted in closures, layoffs and bankruptcies.

Los Angeles/Long Beach, where there has been a recent surge in coronavirus cases, still has an occupancy rate of almost 51 percent. That was nearly a 40 percent drop year-to-date.

It was among five major markets to pass the 50 percent threshold. The others are Norfolk/Virginia Beach, Virginia, at 65 percent; Philadelphia-New Jersey at nearly 53 percent; San Diego at nearly 52 percent; and Detroit at 51.5 percent. Markets with the lowest occupancy levels were Oahu Island, Hawaii at almost 23 percent and Orlando, Florida, at 30 percent.

In New York City, occupancy now stands at 41 percent, a 54 percent decline from the same time last year. New York state now requires a 14-day quarantine period for people entering from states where positive Covid test results exceed 10 percent.

Chicago’s occupancy was 40 percent, a 47 percent decline from last year; and in Miami/ Hialeah, where Covid cases were on the rise, the occupancy rate stood at almost 37 percent, according to STR. That was 51 percent below the same period last year.

Contact Sasha Jones at [email protected]


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