HotStats: After 'grim' April, U.S. hotels hope for better May numbers

Occupancy for the month in the nation's capital was at an “infinitesimal level,” according to a new report from HotStats. Photo credit: Pixabay/12019 (skyline)

In April, the first full month of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic in the U.S., lockdowns were omnipresent, stay-at-home orders abounded and travel was at a near standstill.

The result, according to the latest report from HotStats, was a month’s worth of grim hotel data.

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With occupancy rates off 73 percentage points from a year previous and a steep drop in average room rate, revenue per available room fell 95.2 percent year over year to a single-digit number.

With virtually no ancillary revenue generated, including food-and-beverage revenue of less than $1 per available room, total RevPAR decreased 95 percent year over year. While closed hotels and those running bare-bones operations saved on the expense side, including total labor costs down 73.5 percent year over year, gross operating profit per available room was down 122.8 percent year over year to $-26.34, the second consecutive month of GOPPAR as a negative value.

“While year-over-year comparisons have historically been the norm of performance measurement to capture seasonal fluctuation, COVID-19 is a truly extraordinary and unprecedented event that has made month-to-month comparison a worthwhile tool to measure real improvement or deterioration,” the report claimed. Between March and April, total RevPAR declined 87 percent and GOPPAR worsened 106 percent.

“Hoteliers know the challenging times they face, and while April's grim data was expected, the hope is that as the industry moves forward and cities and states begin to reopen, the months ahead will incrementally improve,” said report author David Eisen, the company's director of hotel intelligence and customer solutions. “It will be baby steps, and at this stage, hoteliers will be intent to reaching an occupancy break-even point that will allow them to operate without losing money.”

Washington, D.C.

Occupancy for the month in the nation's capital was at an “infinitesimal level” and even with rate holding fairly strong (22.7 percent down from the same time a year ago), RevPAR fell 98.3 percent year over year. Similarly, TRevPAR fell 98.5 percent year over year.

With revenue at nearly zero, combined with some lingering expenses that persevere despite property closures and scaled-back operations, GOPPAR declined 119.5 percent year over year, down to -$33.34. From March to April, GOPPAR was down 18 percent.

New Orleans

New Orleans, a city hit initially hard by the coronavirus, has seen progress flattening the curve, and with just over 7,000 confirmed cases, is now in the first phase of reopening. The city’s economy relies heavily on tourism, especially in the French Quarter, where some businesses have started to reopen. 

The city’s occupancy was down 78 percentage points over the same time a year ago in April, and 26 percentage points from March. That, combined with a sharp decline in average rate, led to a 95.8 percent decline in year-over-year RevPAR. Between March and April, RevPAR fell 88 percent, and the overall lack of revenue (both rooms and ancillary), drove TRevPAR down 94.9 percent year over year and 87 percent from March.

GOPPAR, meanwhile, fell 110 percent year over year and reached a negative value for the first time, at $-12.39.

While May’s numbers won’t be available for some time, HotStats expects the numbers will still pale in comparison year-over-year—but month-to-month, things potentially could be getting better.