Hotels: Occupancy Rate Unchanged Compared to Same Week in 2019

Note: The year-over-year occupancy comparisons are easy, since occupancy declined sharply at the onset of the pandemic.

The occupancy rate was unchanged compared to the same week in 2019 due to Labor Day demand and Hurricane Ida.

Labor Day weekend leisure travel and Hurricane Ida-related demand lifted U.S. hotel occupancy out of a five-week slump.

After declining for the past five weeks, weekly U.S. hotel occupancy inched up 30 basis points for the week ending Sept. 4 to 61.3%, according to the latest data from CoStar hospitality analytics firm STR. Weekend occupancy, Friday and Saturday, increased to 77%, which was the country’s highest since the first week of August.

Compared with Labor Day weekend in 2019, which was a week earlier, occupancy was nearly the same, indicating the desire to travel remains strong despite the increase in COVID-19 cases, and occupancy declines over the past several weeks are more due to the return of in-person schools and the slow materialization of business and group travel.
emphasis added

The following graph shows the seasonal pattern for the hotel occupancy rate using the four week average.

Hotel Occupancy RateClick on graph for larger image.

The red line is for 2021, black is 2020, blue is the median, dashed purple is 2019, and dashed light blue is for 2009 (the worst year on record for hotels prior to 2020).

Occupancy is above the horrible 2009 levels and weekend occupancy (leisure) has been solid – but, according to STR, occupancy has been declining due to both seasonal factors and the “pandemic situation”.

Note: Y-axis doesn’t start at zero to better show the seasonal change.

With solid leisure travel, the Summer months had decent occupancy – but it is uncertain what will happen in the Fall with business travel – usually weekly occupancy increases up to around 70% in the weeks following Labor Day due to renewed business travel.

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