In an unexpected turn, U.S. demand and occupancy advanced in the latest week of reporting (12-18 September 2021) to the best levels of the past four weeks. Weekly demand increased 1.2 million rooms to 24.3 million, which was the largest weekly gain of the past nine weeks, pushing occupancy to 63.0%. Subdued demand was expected this week due to the mid-week observance of Yom Kippur.
Daily occupancy advanced every day of the week, except Sunday, growing week on week and day on day, culminating in a level of 78% on Saturday. That level was the second highest of the past seven weeks and was only surpassed by Saturday ahead of Labor Day. On a total-room-inventory basis (TRI), which accounts for temporarily closed hotels, weekly occupancy was 60.6%. A little more than 49,000 rooms remain temporarily closed, mostly in New York City, which accounts for 28% of the temporarily closed rooms, and Orlando (12%).
Digging into demand further, 62% of all reporting hotels saw weekly occupancy surpass 60% with most above 70% and a quarter above 80%. Like with other demand and occupancy metrics, the percentage of hotels at the upper end of the occupancy scale reached four-week highs. Weekday occupancy also rose to a four-week high (58%) as occupancy in the Top 25 Markets advanced to 56%, three percentage points lower than hotels in other markets. More encouraging, 60% of hotels in the Top 25 saw occupancy surpass 60%, the most in four weeks. The largest demand gains in the Top 25 were seen by Upscale and Upper Upscale hotels, which accounted for nearly 60% of the weekly growth. Looking at performance by Top 25 hotels clustered on various attributes, group hotels saw weekday occupancy advance by nearly two percentage points for a second straight week with this week’s occupancy settling at 48%, their highest level since mid-August. Overall, Top 25 weekday group demand increased by more than 200,000 room nights, the biggest gain in nine weeks, which suggests nascent conference travel. Weekend demand and occupancy continued to impress with occupancy up to 73% in the Top 25 and 76% elsewhere. In non-top 25 Markets, weekend occupancy was nearly equal to the level seen during the Labor Day weekend.
More than 84% of all markets saw demand growth in the week. As compared with the same week in 2019, which was free of any holidays and religious observances, 73% of markets reported demand that was 90% or more the level seen in that year. Even against somewhat more difficult comparisons, the weekly 2019 demand index rose 2.2 points, the best weekly gain in 11 weeks. Over the past 11 weeks, the weekend 2019 demand index has ranged from 92 (the weekend before Labor Day) to 101 (Labor Day weekend). This past weekend it was 99.
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