Sluggish hotel market showing signs of life

Occupancy was at 49% in week ending March 6

U.S. hotel occupancy rises. (Getty)
U.S. hotel occupancy rises. (Getty)

Hotels are receiving an injection of new guests as more Americans receive the Covid-19 vaccine and consider traveling again.

U.S. hotel occupancy hit 49 percent in the week ending March 6, its highest level since last August, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing data from STR. That’s down from 65 percent in March 2020 before the effects of the pandemic were fully felt.

The uptick in travel is also prompting renewed interest in hotels by some of the largest institutional investors.

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Blackstone Group and Starwood Capital Group announced this week that they will acquire Extended Stay America for $6 billion, according to the Wall Street Journal. The firms are betting on an increase in business travel.

Stock indexes tracking hotel brands and hotel REITS jumped 22 percent in February, according to the report.

In another positive sign, more hotels are reopening. Of hotels tracked by STR, only 2.5 percent of U.S. rooms were closed, a drop from 18 percent last April.

[WSJ] — Keith Larsen