Research firm Smith Travel Research said occupancy dropped by double digit percentages in the tri-county area while rooms got cheaper year-over-year. March marked the worst drop in the current recession. Average room rates in Broward County dropped nearly 19 percent, but the occupancy rate remained almost 10 percent below levels a year ago. Palm Beach County saw rates slide 20 percent and occupancy drop 15 percent from March 2008. Miami-Dade County rates took a 14 percent hit while occupancy took a 12 percent hit.