Hurricane Dorian never made landfall in Florida, but the near miss still had a sizable impact on Florida’s hospitality industry around Labor Day weekend.
Demand for hotels in the Florida Keys fell by 50 percent and revenue per available room dropped by 59 percent during a seven-day period from Aug. 30 through Sept. 5, according to a report from the hotel data company STR.
Daytona Beach’s hotel industry took the second biggest hit. Demand for hotels fell 37.4 percent, while revenue per available room in Daytona Beach dipped by 47 percent.
In Fort Lauderdale, hotel demand dropped 26 percent and revenue per available room fell 34 percent. Similarly, hotel demand in Miami fell 28.5 percent and revenue declined 38 percent, according to the report.
The hospitality industry is critical to the Florida Keys economy, especially during the winter season when snowbirds flock to the island chain. After Hurricane Irma, room demand in the Florida Keys dropped 44 percent in September 2017 from the previous year, according to Visit Florida.
Alison Hoyt, STR’s senior director of consulting & analytics, said Hurricane Dorian should not have a significant impact on hotel revenue or occupancy in Florida in the months ahead.
“Fortunately with Dorian, reports suggest that most U.S. markets avoided large-scale destruction, especially when you consider the devastation in the Bahamas, so we don’t expect an extended impact in the U.S. data,” Hoyt said in statement.
However, the hospitality industry in the Abaco Islands and Grand Bahama will likely be decimated for years, according to industry experts. The Abaco Islands and Grand Bahama have a total of about 2,250 hotel rooms, which equates to 15 percent of the total hotel inventory in the country, according to Rick Newton of Resort Capital Partners, which tracks the hospitality industry.