STR's Jan Freitag offered insights into weekly performance data for U.S. hotels as national occupancy's slow and steady ascent continued.
HENDERSONVILLE, Tennessee—For the first time in a long time, U.S. hotel operators sold more than 10 million roomnights for the week ending 9 May, according to STR’s SVP of Lodging Insights Jan Freitag.
STR is the parent company of Hotel News Now.
Freitag said that represents an improvement of more than 3 million roomnights over the week of 11 April, and is a good indicator of a recovery, albeit a slow one.
For the weekend of 9 May, occupancy reached 30.1%, the second consecutive “very healthy” increase in weekend occupancies, he said.
Freitag said the submarkets with the biggest point difference between weekday and weekend occupancy are in Daytona Beach, Florida, and the Florida Panhandle with access to beaches.
Revenue per available room at hotels in resort destinations, defined by STR, still declined 82.4% in comparison with the same week in 2019.
“Certainly, this is not yet a time for vacation destinations,” he said.
For the total U.S., RevPAR for the week ending 9 May declined 74.4% year over year, which he said qualifies as “less bad” than has been seen in the past.
Class performance, top 25 markets
Among chain scales, the upper end continues to see “very dire RevPAR percent changes in the -88% range,” Freitag said.
At the lower end, economy hotels reported a 45% decline in RevPAR, and midscale occupancy was down 60%. Freitag noted that is an improvement, pointing to a slight increase in room demand for lower-priced properties.
“Putting it in a different way, the occupancy for the week ending 9 May for luxury hotels was under 17% but for economy hotels was over 40%,” he said. “We fully expect this pattern to continue.”
Another bright spot appeared in the top 25 U.S. markets, all of which recorded double-digit occupancy, including Oahu, Hawaii.
Freitag said occupancies in New York City are now “firmly in the 40% range,” while the majority of the top 25 markets are only in the 20% to 30% range.
Occupancy at hotels in mainland China fell after the Chinese New Year and saw a very slow recovery in February and March, he said. At the end of March, as lockdowns began to ease, weekend occupancies saw a slight bump as leisure travelers took to drive-to destinations—very similar to what was seen in Florida on the weekend of 9 May.
China also saw a sharp uptick in holiday demand over its May Day weekend, which might happen for the July Fourth weekend in the U.S., he said.
“There are some green shoots; there’s some positive news to see in the global data and in the U.S. data,” he said.
Editor’s note: The video included in this article was filmed by Jan Freitag, SVP of lodging insights at STR, on 13 May and edited and produced by CoStar Group. HNN is a division of STR, a CoStar Group company.