Hotels’ comeback stalls nationally, skids in NYC and Miami

Occupancy flat last week as two major markets see worrisome declines

Hotels’ recovery appears to have stalled.

From mid-April through June, occupancy rates climbed steadily following their historic coronavirus plunge. But they fell in the week ending July 4 and last week they were essentially flat, according to newly released data from industry tracker STR.

Occupancy rose by 0.3 percentage points to 45.9 percent in the week ending July 11 from the week prior, which ended on Independence Day, STR figures show. Small markets are performing better than large ones: The occupancy rate in STR’s top 25 markets was just 39.2 percent.

Nationally, hotels also made less money on the rooms they did rent. Revenue per available room, or revPAR, which takes into consideration the rates hotels are able to charge as well as occupancy, fell by 3.3 percent, to $44.67 from $46.21, week-over-week.

Hotel occupancy in New York extended its weekly slide to six weeks, falling to 37 percent from 40.1 percent week-over-week. Post-coronavirus pandemic occupancy peaked at 47.6 percent in the last week of May. revPAR also fell in New York to $46.62 from $52.51 — an 11.2 percent drop.

Miami hotels, perhaps suffering from a surge in Covid cases across Florida, also saw notable slides in both occupancy and revPAR from the week before. Occupancy fell to 30.4 percent from 33.6 percent, while revPAR plummeted by 21 percent to $32.87 from $41.61.

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Only one of STR’s top 25 markets — Norfolk/Virginia Beach — had more than 60 percent of rooms booked last week, and just barely. Detroit and Atlanta were the only other markets with half or more of their rooms booked, at 54.9 percent and 50.1 percent, respectively. Both improved from the week prior.

Bear in mind that occupancy rates do not take into account hotels that are closed.

The number of coronavirus cases nearly doubled from July 1 to July 14 from around 169,000 to nearly 302,000. Late last month, Miami-Dade County began renting hotel rooms to isolate Covid-19 patients.

Los Angeles, where coronavirus cases are also on the rise, saw occupancy rise from 43.9 percent to 45.1 percent week-over week. RevPAR gained a few cents to $54.02.

New York has driven its Covid daily death count down to single digits, but Gov. Andrew Cuomo did impose a 14-day quarantine requirement on visitors from many states, possibly hurting hotels.

California Governor Gavin Newsom ordered most indoor business and activities to close once again as cases shot up in a number of counties following reopenings statewide.

Chicago’s occupancy rate and revPAR were essentially flat compared to the first week of the month, with 36.6 percent of rooms rented and a revPAR of $31.36.