Source: Travel Pulse
By Donald Wood
January 28, 2021
The hotel industry in the United States was hit hard by the coronavirus outbreak, recording its worst year to date.
According to NPR.org, data provider STR reported that hotels and resorts across the country hit all-time lows in occupancy and revenue per available room last year. The study also found there were over one billion unsold room nights for the first time in history.
With an occupancy rate of just 44 percent and revenue per available room dropping by nearly 48 percent, 2020 surpassed 2009 as the worst year on record, toppling the previous record 786 million unsold room nights caused by the global financial crisis.
“We, along with airlines and restaurants, were the first hurt and the worst hurt,” American Hotel and Lodging Association (AHLA) president Chip Rogers said. “As most other businesses come out of this, we’re still going to be hurting for a while.”
While conditions will remain poor to start 2021, data from STR and the AHLA suggests pent-up demand and an increased number of vaccinated travelers could bolster the industry during the second half of the year.
Hotel industry insiders also expect travelers to take advantage of low hospitality prices this summer, but the continued loss of corporate travel will hurt bottom lines into 2022, as business travel accounts for 60-65 percent of all revenue in the industry.
When looking to the future, the AHLA expects travel to return to 2019 levels in 2024, while room rates will not return to 2019 levels until 2025.