STR: U.S. occupancy hits highest level in a year

Boston hotels reported occupancy of 33.6 percent for the week. Photo credit: Getty Images (Boston)

U.S. weekly hotel occupancy reached its highest level in a year, according to STR‘s latest data through March 13.

For the week of March 7-13, hotel occupancy reached 52.1 percent, up from 49 percent the week before and, for the first time, down just 1.4 percent from the comparable week in 2020. Average daily rate reached $102.62, down 14.5 percent year over year, while revenue per available room reached $53.45, down 15.8 percent.

Year-over-year percentage changes are now more favorable as comparisons have shifted to pandemic-affected weeks from 2020. When indexed against 2019 levels, the U.S. has recaptured between 70-75 percent of occupancy in recent weeks.

Florida, lifted by spring break and Bike Week, was most represented among the leaders in week-to-week occupancy gains. Among all STR-defined markets, Daytona Beach, Fla.; Gatlinburg, Tenn.; Myrtle Beach, S.C.; San Antonio; Greensboro, N.C.; and the Florida Panhandle showed double-digit growth from the previous week, which is reflective of further reopening around the country. All but seven states saw week-over-week gains, and six states saw occupancy increase more than 5 percentage points.

Top Markets

Among the top 25 markets, Tampa, Fla., experienced the highest occupancy level (72.7 percent). The lowest top 25 occupancy levels came in Boston (33.6 percent) and Minneapolis (33.9 percent). 

Aggregate data for the top 25 markets showed slightly lower occupancy (49.8 percent) but higher ADR ($109.06) than all other markets. The major markets continue to show the most sizable gaps in current occupancy versus 2019.

Market Recovery Monitor

Last week, STR launched its Market Recovery Monitor to categorize each STR-defined market based on an indexed comparison with the same time periods in 2019. 

For the week ending March 13, the U.S. achieved its highest absolute weekly RevPAR ($53.45) since the week ending March 14, 2020. A year-over-year decline of 15.8 percent was the smallest since the start of the pandemic. However, a lessening of the year-over-year decrease is mostly a function of an easier comparison. When indexed against 2019, RevPAR was 57 percent of the level achieved during the comparable week in 2019. Similar to the most recent weeks, that RevPAR index remains well in the recession classification.

ADR increased 4.2 percent week on week, the country’s largest weekly gain of the past four weeks. The gain was led by the non-top 25 markets. All but 23 of 166 markets reported weekly growth, led by Daytona Beach and other spring break destinations in Florida and elsewhere. ADR, as indexed to 2019, rose to 76.4, meaning ADR is 76 percent of what it was during the comparable week in 2019. Twelve markets, including the Florida Keys, Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge, and Daytona Beach reported an ADR that was above their comparable 2019 levels for the week.