KEY FLORIDA HOTEL markets hit by Hurricane Dorian have seen significant demand declines, according to an STR analysis. The losses were greater for Florida compared to the Carolinas.
The analysis by the STR Consulting and Analytics team focused on markets in the states most impacted by the storm. This includes Florida, South Carolina, and North Carolina. It factored in the extended Labor Day weekend as well as a comparable period from last year.
During the seven days from Aug. 30 through Sept. 5, the Florida Keys market reported the largest demand declines, down 50.1 percent. This was followed by Daytona Beach, Florida, which dropped 37.4 percent; Savannah, Georgia, down 30.4 percent; and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, down 30 percent.
“Such a demand shift is consistent with historical trends around hurricanes as residents typically flee the path of storms and head to evacuation zones,” said Alison Hoyt, STR’s senior director of consulting and analytics.
“Additionally, Labor Day demand increases in most of the markets were due to lower performance last year as opposed to higher performance this year. Performance levels during the comparable week in 2018 were significantly affected by Hurricane Florence.”
Macon/Warner Robins and Augusta, Georgia, reported the largest increases in the metric, up 49.5 percent and up 27.6 percent respectively.
Changes in RevPAR also reflected the fluctuations in demand. The steepest declines were reported in the Florida Keys, which were down 59.4 percent, and Daytona Beach, down 47 percent.
The largest gains were posted by Macon/Warner Robins and Augusta, up 79.4 percent and 42.9 percent respectively.
Hoyt said the long-term performance impact from hurricanes is largely dependent on the length of the storm and the amount of damage.
“Ultimately, the number of residents in need of extended lodging because of damage to their homes dictates changes in hotel performance. Fortunately, with Dorian, reports suggest that most U.S. markets avoided large-scale destruction, especially when you consider the devastation in the Bahamas, so we don’t expect an extended impact in the U.S. data.”
In 2017, Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, despite causing mass destruction in Florida and Texas, also brought added revenue for hotels in the affected areas thanks to higher occupancy by temporarily displaced residents.