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Hotels face drop in occupancy, revenue amid coronavirus outbreak

Tuesday, March 17, 2020  
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Hotels face drop in occupancy, revenue amid coronavirus outbreak

CNBC - March 17, 2020

Major hotel chains are temporarily closing properties and seeing occupancy rates tumble as travelers stay at home during the coronavirus outbreak.

Global hospitality research company STR said Wednesday that for the week of March 8-14, hotel occupancy was down 24.4% to 53% year-over-year. Meanwhile, revenue per available room, a key industry metric, fell 32.5% to $63.74.

The numbers echo plunging demand for air travel and cruise ships as travel slows to a trickle. There have been more than 200,000 cases of the coronavirus so far, and governments are imposing restrictions to combat the spread. The United States border with Canada will temporarily close to “non-essential traffic” due to the coronavirus pandemic, the leaders of both countries said Wednesday morning.

“To no surprise, the hurt continued and intensified for hotels around the country,” said Jan Freitag, STR’s senior VP of lodging insights in a statement. “The performance declines were especially pronounced in hotels that cater to meetings and group business, which is a reflection of the latest batch of event cancellations and government guidance to restrict the size of gatherings.”

Even before Nevada ordered the closure of casinos and other businesses, MGM Resorts International and Wynn Resorts announced the temporary closure of their properties in Las Vegas. That includes well-known hotels like the Bellagio, MGM Grand Mandalay Bay, The Mirage and others.

Following the closure of its U.S. theme parks, Disney closed all its owned and operated hotel locations at Downtown Disney in Anaheim and Disney Springs in Orlando, beginning Tuesday. The Disney owned and operated hotels at Walt Disney World Resort and Disney’s Vero Beach Resort will close at 5 p.m. on Friday, March 20, the company said in a statement.

Home share bookings in major cities are also feeling the pinch.

For example, Airbnb bookings for the week of March 1-7 in Rome and Beijing were down 41% and 96%, respectively, compared to bookings made January 5-11, according to AirDNA, which analyzes vacation rental data.

“2020 got off to a fast start with our booking rate quite high in the months of January and February,” said Jon Ingalls, an Airbnb host in Seattle, “We’ve now had cancellations for March and have had virtually no bookings for the spring.”

Checking in? Making sure your room is clean
If you do happen to be checking into a hotel in the near future, global and independent hotel brands such as Red Roof, Marriott International and Hilton are being proactive about sharing specifics about their cleaning efforts.

In addition to the cleaning and disinfecting protocols used in guest rooms, Marriott is reassuring guests that its hotels have increased the frequency of cleaning and disinfecting in public spaces, “with a focus on the counter at the front desk, elevators (and elevator buttons), door handles, public bathrooms and even room keys,” the company said in a statement.

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