As the Big Apple turned on its holiday charms, visitors flocked back to the city, pushing New York to the highest occupancy level in the nation (81 percent) for the week ending Dec. 11. That’s the first time in 85 weeks that New York has led the nation in occupancy, according to hotel industry analysts STR.
The market reported the nation’s highest weekday occupancy (79 percent) and the second highest weekend level (89 percent). Average daily rates also hit a pandemic high, increasing 11 percent over the previous week to $337, the nation’s third highest level behind Maui and the Florida Keys.
However, both occupancy and ADR remained below levels seen in the comparable week of 2019.
Across the US, 43 percent of the 166 markets STR measures saw weekly occupancy above same-week levels in 2019, with most of the remaining markets within 10 percent of their 2019 numbers. Total occupancy nationwide reached 57 percent, averaging about 5 percent lower than in 2019.
Occupancy in STR’s Top 25 Markets posted a four-week high at 62 percent. Weekday occupancy in the Top 25 Markets achieved an 18-week high at 59 percent, with weekend occupancy surpassing 70 percent.
In November, the STR forecast saw the hotel industry on track to recover to 2019 levels a full year sooner that originally predicted. Even with the rise of the COVID-19 omicron variant, the rebound appears still to be on solid footing, although the new virus strain has once again introduced headwinds for any recovery.
“There is still much uncertainty and increasing fear due to the emergence of the omicron variant,” STR commented in a blog post. “But it’s wonderful to report a continuation of the recovery, especially in the Top 25 Markets. The next two weeks are expected to see stronger than usual performance for this time of year.”
The post went on to predict a slower period as individuals and businesses adjust and react to the new COVID variant.