WHILE THE COVID-19 pandemic continues, the U.S. leads the world in hotel openings, according to STR. However, the number of project deferrals and abandonments around the country also has risen.
At 521 properties opened during the seven months before Oct. 1 with 55,395 rooms, the U.S. is at the top of a list of six countries that have opened more than 2,000 rooms throughout the course of the pandemic. The other countries with openings are:
- China (23,470 rooms)
- Japan (16,304 rooms)
- Germany (9,027 rooms)
- Canada (2,748 rooms)
- United Kingdom (2,481 rooms)
However, year to date through September, 211 projects in the U.S. were deferred, a 56 percent increase over the same period last year. Additionally, 232 projects were abandoned, which was a 16 percent decrease over 2019.
“Generally, projects that have already broke ground are going to be finished—but abandonments and deferrals, which are becoming more common, affect the total room count in the pipeline,” said Jan Freitag, STR’s senior vice president of lodging insights. “The movement of projects into these phases is playing into the overall slowing of development activity because there isn’t that constant flow of projects moving into construction. Additionally, there is no longer a rush to move projects from planning to construction because the record-breaking demand of 2019 isn’t there waiting for new hotels to open.”
The number of rooms in construction has declined from the country’s peak in April of 220,207 rooms which followed a record-setting March with 214,704 rooms. In September, the U.S. had 216,063 rooms in construction, which was still up 6.1 percent year over year.