STR: U.S. hotel occupancy reaches 20-week high

U.S. weekly hotel occupancy reached a 20-week high during the week of Feb. 28-March 6, according to STR‘s latest data. 

During the week, hotel occupancy reached 49 percent, down 20.5 percent from comparable week in 2020 but up from 47.5 percent for the last week in February and 48.1 percent the week before. That level was led by small and medium hotels with fewer than 300 rooms, with most markets reporting week-over-week growth. Room demand, the number of rooms sold, topped 18 million for the first time since October. 

Average daily rate was $98.30, up 1.4 percent week over week but down 21.9 percent year over year, while revenue per available room was $48.13, down 37.9 percent.

While demand has improved in many states, most markets remain deep in recessionary territory when indexed to 2019 levels. Year-over-year comparisons with 2020 are beginning to turn favorable as the country hits the one-year anniversary of its earliest pandemic restrictions.

Top Markets

Occupancy was up across nearly all states, led by Georgia, which saw week-over-week occupancy increase by 5.7 points. Florida again had the highest occupancy of any state in the week even though it fell slightly compared to the previous week. Nearly all Florida markets saw week-on-week occupancy fall except for a handful, which were mostly beach markets. Despite the weaker performance, nine of the 10 highest weekly occupancy markets continued to be in Florida.

Aggregate data for the top 25 markets showed slightly lower occupancy (46.7 percent) but higher ADR ($105.55) than all other markets.

Among STR's top 25 markets, Miami saw the highest occupancy level (66.6 percent). 

Top 25 markets with the lowest occupancy levels for the week included Oahu Island (30.9 percent) and Boston (31.7 percent).

While most markets saw small week-over-week ADR gains, nearly a quarter saw weekly growth of 3 percent or more, led by Daytona Beach, Fla.. The city is hosting the 80th Annual Daytona Beach Bike Week, which estimated to draw 300,000 individuals from March 5-14. STR expects that event, plus spring break, to boost Florida occupancy in the coming weeks.

Market Recovery Monitor

STR has introduced a weekly Market Recovery Monitor that will categorize each STR-defined market based on an indexed comparison with the same time periods in 2019. An index is a ratio that divides current performance by the benchmark (2019 data). In the comparable week from 2019, RevPAR was $87.75. This produces an index of 54.8 ($48.13/$87.75*100), meaning current RevPAR is slightly more than half of what it was in 2019.

On a 28-day moving average basis, roughly a quarter of all markets remain in depression, but fewer markets have been in that category over the past several weeks. Markets deep in the depression stage include San Francisco/San Mateo, New Orleans and Oahu Island in Hawaii. RevPAR in these three markets is 30 percent or less of what it was in 2019, and each has been at that level for some time. While all hotel types have been affected within those three markets, large, convention hotels with 300 rooms or more account for most of the RevPAR loss.

On the flip side, five markets are in recovery, led by Louisiana South, which has exceeded its 2019 RevPAR since September. A deeper look revealed that the Louisiana South submarket was the main driver of performance with Baton Rouge and Lafayette in the recovery stage.