Hotel occupancy is up for fifth week in a row

The sector will remain dependent on leisure travelers, while uncertainty remains over large gatherings, according to STR

(Credit: iStock)
(Credit: iStock)

Hotel occupancy increased for the fifth week in a row, though the industry remains in a deep rut.

U.S. hotels saw nearly 11 million room nights during the week ending May 16, bringing occupancy up a little more than two percentage points from 32.4 percent the week prior, according to the latest figures from hospitality data firm STR. Still, occupancy was down roughly 54 percent from the same time last year.

STR senior vice president Jan Freitag called the improving weekly numbers a trend of “less bad” as states began to roll back some social distancing measures taken to slow the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

“All 50 states have at least partially reopened, so slow weekly demand growth should continue with more leisure activity around the country,” he said, noting that areas with access to destinations like beaches or national parks that travelers can visit by car are helping fill hotel rooms on weekends. “The industry will remain largely dependent on the leisure segment as uncertainty remains over when hotels will be ready to accommodate large events and group business.”

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In New York City, occupancy remained virtually unchanged from the previous week at nearly 44 percent, a figure that was roughly half of the occupancy rate the same time last year. Revenue per available room fell below $53 from the week before — down more than 80 percent on the year.

As the pandemic continues to hammer the city’s hospitality industry, Marriott International has given notice that it will shutter the 452-room Times Square Edition hotel this summer.

Miami, Los Angeles and Chicago all saw modest weekly gains in occupancy.

Miami’s occupancy rate rose two percentage points from the previous week to 26.5 percent, while Los Angeles’ rate remained virtually flat at 35.8 percent and Chicago climbed a little more than two points from the week before to 26.8 percent.

Contact Rich Bockmann at rb@therealdeal.com or 908-415-5229