Why Are U.S. Hotel Occupancy Rates Barely Growing?

Date: September 20, 2018

When it comes to booking travel and hotel stays, the economic outlook can be telling. Following the 2008 global recession, hotel occupancy rates in 2009 dropped to 54.6%, their lowest levels in over 35 years. Since then the number of U.S. travelers has steadily increased year-over-year, with 2017 having the highest rates of hotel occupancy since the recession. Yet, with even 65.9% of hotel rooms being booked, American-based hotels have some of the lowest occupancy rates in the world. Only Africa and the Middle East have lower rates of 61.6%, while Europe has consistent occupancy rates well into the 70% range.

What could be keeping occupancy levels low?

The simple answer is less travel. Many travelers are opting for either cruises or international vacations. While hotel stays have slowly increased by less than .5% each year, the number of cruises booked has increased by 4.5% each year since 2015. Travelers may be looking for more all inclusive options with more entertainment for one flat rate, as opposed to having to book travel, lodging and still pay for entertainment options. When you examine international travel trends, a similar phenomenon emerges. In 2016, 66.9 million Americans traveled abroad for both business and leisure, representing an 8% increase over the year before. As international travel has become more affordable, record numbers of Americans are choosing to go overseas where they may be able to get more for their money.

What can hotels do to attract more customers?

Offer more amenities. People love free stuff. This could be as simple as offering complimentary WiFi in all guest rooms and common areas, or having a fully-equipped outdoor grilling space for patrons to use. Finding ways to enhance their stay while also giving them more entertainment options, on site, can be a great way to attract more customers to your hotel. Some leading hotel chains are even incorporating dry cleaning, in-suite laundry facilities, and personal travel concierge services to make their hotel a one-stop shop.

Upgrade facilities. Customers want their hotel stay to be an extension of their home life. Renovated rooms, larger lounging areas within the room and having dedicated work spaces in-suite can all be great ways to upgrade the hotel experience. Updating appliances and fixtures can be an added touch to give your rooms a more modern look and feel as well.

Consider the entire hotel experience. The hotel renovation experts at the Beam Team recommends doing a complete hotel walk-through, tracking what your customers see and experience during their stay. This can be helpful in pinpointing specific areas or features that can be changed to elevate your hotel stays and attract more customers. Even small upgrades like adding more floral decorations, repaving walkways or installing custom art on the walls can transform how your hotel is perceived by customers.

If you have a new hotel project or want to enhance your hotel in 2018, contact the Beam Team’s award-winning interior renovation team today, by clicking here.