All scales reported ADR growth over March 2019, ranging from +2.8% (upscale) to +26.8% (luxury) despite occupancy declines across the board. Upscale (+1.6%), upper midscale (+4.1%) and midscale (+1.0) properties posted demand growth, but each are competing with an influx of supply (+10.5%, +8.4% and +3.6%, respectively) which offsets any potential occupancy gains. Upper upscale showed the worst RevPAR decline (-8.4%), driven down by a 12.1% demand decline coupled with 4.6% growth in supply.
More than two-thirds of STR-defined U.S. hotel markets (113 of 165) outperformed their 2019 comparables over the four weeks ending 9 April 2022, which is reflective of the industry’s rebound toward normalcy as well as some influence from inflation. Only seven markets in total over the 28-day period reported revenue-per-available-room (RevPAR) indices below 80 (20% below 2019 levels). Late March into early April 2022 also marked a key turnaround in the number of major markets making appreciable performance gains toward historical performance levels.
Global tourism receipts were well below the pre-pandemic level in 2021 as travel restrictions and uncertainty persisted, and changing consumer behavior dented economic recovery. But now, in the spring of 2022, some two years since COVID-19 forced governments to impose lockdowns and severe travel restrictions, there are plenty of signs of optimism for the future of tourism. This is true even with potential macroeconomic and geopolitical headwinds.
Hotel performance has remained stable in most of Europe amid the war in Ukraine, and countries bordering the conflict area have seen a refugee-driven lift in occupancy. Using standard methodology, which excludes temporary closures from the pandemic, Europe’s hotel occupancy hasn’t dipped below 53% on a running 7-day basis since late February. The latest data for 20 March showed occupancy above 58%. When indexed to 2019, levels over the last few weeks have not fallen below 77% of the pre-pandemic comparables and came in above 80% on 20 March.
The U.S. hotel industry posted its highest weekly occupancy since the end of summer 2021 with a level of 66.9% during the week of 13-19 March 2022. Boosted by Spring Break and NCAA March Madness, one-fifth of the 166 STR-defined U.S. markets reported their highest occupancy of the past 32 weeks with 12 markets achieving pandemic-era highs. For a second consecutive week, average daily rate (ADR) increased by more than 4%, pushing the weekly level 14% higher than the 2019 comparable.
Leisure travel continues to be particularly strong in the U.S. as spring kicks into gear, and the biggest hotel performance wins recently have come in those U.S. markets that are traditional Spring Break destinations. At the same time, major urban centers are seeing some return of transient business demand along with increases in group bookings. Since last month’s update, travelers have continued to seek relief and respite in warmer or winter-fun locales, as shown by hotel performance data for the four weeks ending 12 March 2022.
U.S. hotel weekly occupancy slipped a bit in the most recent week of reporting (27 February-5 March 2022), falling to 61.2% from 62.2% the week prior. While all attention is focused on rising gas prices and the potential impact on hotel demand, this week’s decrease was due to a weaker Sunday as the previous Sunday benefited from the Presidents’ Day holiday. Excluding Sunday, occupancy for the remaining six days reached 63.2%, the highest six-day result in the country since mid-November.
Los Angeles hoteliers enjoyed a strong lift but underperformed due to the Omicron impact. Since 2011, STR has analyzed the top-line hotel performance impact for the Super Bowl host city, both in terms of absolute performance and year-over-year change. As usual, STR also made a prediction about Los Angeles hotel performance weeks before the event, forecasting revenue per available room (RevPAR) of US$396 for the weekend of the big game (Friday-Sunday).
Driven by the Presidents’ Day holiday weekend, U.S. leisure travel made a big comeback and pushed occupancy 4.6 percentage points to 59.1% during the week of 13-19 February 2022. That was the highest level of the past 13 weeks and the second consecutive week in which occupancy expanded by more than four percentage points from the previous 7-day period. The demand expansion was somewhat widespread as 40% of the 166 STR-defined U.S. markets reported weekly occupancy of 60% or more.
STR’s latest 28-day visuals show markets collectively getting closer to their seasonal performance expectations. The leaders and laggards are highlighted in the “bubble” charts below with averages covering the four weeks ending 12 February. Among the Top 25 Markets, four of five leaders have recently outpaced their comparable revenue per available room (RevPAR) from 2019. Miami had the top four-week RevPAR (US$203) and a RevPAR index score of 104 (4% above the 2019 comp) after hitting 161 last month.
U.S. weekly hotel performance continued to rev up with the largest week-over-week increase in occupancy this year. A level of 54.6% for 6-12 February 2022 was 4.2 percentage points better than the week prior, and in absolute terms, occupancy was highest since the second week of December. All day parts saw growth with the largest occupancy gain over the weekend (Friday and Saturday), up 6.6 percentage points to 64.1%. Of the 166 STR-defined markets, 91% reported week-over-week gains in weekend occupancy.
The last weeks of December along with the first weeks of a fresh year are typically slower for hotels. Throw in lingering concerns around the pandemic and many areas of the country have seen low performance as the calendar flipped from 2021 to 2022. Not all markets are deep in deficit territory, however, as a diverse range of STR-defined markets are achieving relatively strong indicators. Our new “bubble charts” for 2022 highlight the leaders and laggards for the four weeks ending 15 January.
The first week of 2022 (2-8 January) was somewhat typical for a first week in January. U.S. hotel industry occupancy dipped to 45.4%, which was eight percentage points lower than what it was in the comparable week of 2019 but eight percentage points higher than a year ago. In STR’s 23 years of daily performance measurement, this most recent week’s occupancy was among the lowest for the comparable time period—better than what was seen in 2000 and 2011 but worse than most all of the early 2000s. The highest occupancy for this week was posted in 2018 at 56.8%, with the next highest at in 2007 (54%).
STR’s final 51-chart map of the year shows recent national/regional trends and many states finishing 2021 strong. Further, trend lines for revenue per available room (RevPAR) on a total-room-inventory (TRI) basis provide ample evidence of the hotel industry’s extraordinary rebound, particularly in the second half of the year. Despite expectations for some travel hesitancy related to the spread of the Omicron variant, RevPAR for the four weeks ending with Week 50 (11 December) remained near (or above) 2019 levels for a vast majority of states. Of course, the most recent weekly index comparisons with 2019 are against normal, off-peak months.
In our last global P&L article, we noted that hotel profitability improved across much of the globe as the industry continued its slow recovery. In this latest update with October data, we saw similar trends in P&L data although there were notable outliers in each world region. Among the major European markets, Berlin achieved an October gross operating profit per available room (GOPPAR) of US$95.82, which was 111% of the 2019 comparable. Berlin was the only major market in Europe that was able to surpass its October 2019 GOPPAR level.
In a somewhat typical post-Thanksgiving week (28 November-4 December), U.S. hotel occupancy rose from the previous week to 54.8%. Occupancy indexed to 2019 was 91, which was good but lower than the previous three weeks. However, when compared with 2010, a year like 2021 because of calendar make up and the rebuilding after the Great Recession, occupancy was 10% higher. This week’s average daily rate (ADR) surprised on the downside, falling 0.6% week on week. But with the gain in occupancy, weekly revenue per available room (RevPAR) increased by 3% from the prior week.
As uncertainty and new cases of the Omicron variant increase across the globe, some countries have reimplemented restrictions around travel. New restrictions obviously mean potential challenges for the hotel industry, and as we have seen throughout the pandemic, every class of hotel can be affected differently. In this latest piece, we look at how Luxury class hotels have performed around the globe, especially in more recent months.
With employees continuing to return to offices, ongoing vaccination progress, and the reopening of many international borders, the time would seem to be ripe for the return of business travel. Yet, even before the news of Omicron in recent days, there continued to be negative sentiment about the return of this segment whereas pandemic-era leisure travel sentiment remains buoyant. In November 2021, STR undertook an online survey of its Traveler Panel—an engaged audience of travel consumers—to examine the fortunes of the industry at this uncertain time.
Thanksgiving week for the U.S. hotel industry was record-breaking by all measures. Weekly occupancy topped 53%, which was 2.3 percentage points higher than the holiday week in 2019 and nearly a point higher than the previous record achieved in 2018. Thanksgiving Day occupancy (56.9%) fell a bit short to 2018’s level (57.3%) as did Monday’s, but occupancy on the other days of the week were at record highs. Looking at the 3-day weekend (Thursday to Saturday), occupancy reached 60.2%, 0.9 percentage points greater than in 2018 and 2017 which had been the bar to surpass.
As COVID-19 cases rise in many parts of the world, especially Europe, the travel industry may be set for another period of disruption as winter encroaches and traveler sentiment worsens. Uncertainty in recent days has mounted further as the new Omicron variant has spread quickly, leading to many countries reimposing COVID restrictions. The situation is particularly ambiguous as recent months had produced stronger levels of hotel performance with vaccination progress leading to buoyed demand, reduced restrictions and the reopening of many international borders.