U.S. weekly revenue per available room last week experienced its steepest year-over-year drop ever recorded by STR, according to the company’s SVP of lodging insights, Jan Freitag. Despite March 15-21 marking the third consecutive week of double-digit RevPAR declines, he said STR fully expects the data to worsen.
“We’re going to have a long, thorny road ahead of us when it comes to recovery,” said Freitag in during a webinar Thursday afternoon. “The United States caseload is only just accelerating.”
In comparison to the week of March 17-23, 2019, U.S. RevPAR dropped 69.5 percent to $28.32, occupancy fell 56.4 percent to 30.3 percent and average daily rate decreased 30.2 percent to $93.41
Though Freitag said the past few weeks of data have shown the United States to be roughly eight weeks behind China, he said he now is afraid that thinking could be wrong.
“U.S. hotel industry occupancy is not falling as quickly as it is in other countries, as it was in China, because there is not a national federal lockdown on the country,” explained Freitag. “What that further then means is that there are still a lot of people traveling ... What that means also then is that there are still a lot of people who are not practicing social distancing, physical distancing. And what that implies then further, is that the uptick, the rebound will take us much, much longer as there are still so many more people who could get infected.”
In general, lower-end hotels and those in transient and smaller markets have seen smaller declines. Notably, Freitag said group occupancy in the upper end of the market hit 1 percent last week. That single percentage, he said, could even be a false positive from prepaid rooms that nobody actually stayed in.
Of STR’s top 25 markets, Freitag said only 10 had an occupancy of more than 30 percent. San Francisco experienced the steepest declines across the three main metrics as occupancy fell 80.7 percent to 16.6 percent, ADR dropped 44.7 percent to $151.25 and RevPAR plummeted 89.3 percent to $25.08.
New York City saw RevPAR fall 86.5 percent to $26.98 due to the second-steepest decline in occupancy (-80.5 percent to 16.8 percent). New Orleans matched New York City’s RevPAR drop as it saw the metric fall to $20.02. The city experienced the third-largest decrease in occupancy (-76 percent to 20.2 percent).
Canada experienced a RevPAR drop of 70.9 percent last week, slightly larger than the U.S. decline. Occupancy fell further—65 percent—to 21.4 percent, while ADR experienced a shallower 16.9 percent decrease.
"It is likely that the Canadian data will further deteriorate as next week results come out, as the number of COVID-19 cases will likely increase," said Freitag.
Among the provinces, Quebec saw the largest decline in occupancy (-75.5 percent to 15 percent) and RevPAR (-77.8 percent to CAD19.94). Prince Edward Island experienced the largest drop in ADR (-24.3 percent to CAD87.39).
Of the major markets, Montreal recorded the steepest drops in RevPAR (-77.3 percent to CAD21.67) and occupancy (-75.6 percent to 15.3 percent). Ottawa registered the largest decline in ADR (-20.6 percent to CAD129.49).