STR: Project deferrals, abandonments on the rise

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More than 55,000 hotel rooms opened between March and September. Photo by Arseniy Rogov/iStock/Getty Images Plus.

The U.S. opened more hotels and rooms than any country between the beginning of March and end of September, according to global pipeline data from STR. At the same time, the country has shown significant growth in project deferrals and abandonments. 

As of Oct. 1, 521 properties accounting for 55,395 rooms opened in the U.S. during the seven-month period. Five additional countries have opened more than 2,000 rooms throughout the course of the pandemic. 

1.    U.S. (55,395 rooms)
2.    China (23,470 rooms) 
3.    Japan (16,304 rooms) 
4.    Germany (9,027 rooms)
5.    Canada (2,748 rooms)
6.    United Kingdom (2,481 rooms)

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Deferred and Abandoned Projects

Year to date through September, 211 projects in the U.S. had been deferred, a 56 percent increase over the same period last year. Additionally, 232 projects were abandoned, which was a 16 percent decrease over 2019. 

“Generally, projects that have already broke ground are going to be finished—but abandonments and deferrals, which are becoming more common, affect the total room count in the pipeline,” said Jan Freitag, STR’s senior VP of lodging insights. “The movement of projects into these phases is playing into the overall slowing of development activity because there isn’t that constant flow of projects moving into construction. Additionally, there is no longer a rush to move projects from planning to construction because the record-breaking demand of 2019 isn’t there waiting for new hotels to open.”

The number of rooms in construction in the U.S. has declined from the country’s peak in April (220,207 rooms). In September, the U.S. had 216,063 rooms in construction, which was still up 6.1 percent year over year. 

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