The winter storm that struck Texas during the week of Feb. 14 to 20 led to 56.3 percent occupancy for the state’s hotels, a 50-week high, according to STR. McAllen/Brownsville reported the highest occupancy level among STR defined markets with 72.3 percent and all Texas markets, except Texas North, saw a week-over-week lift in occupancy.

THE WINTER STORM that brought unusual snow to Texas knocked out power and water to millions of homes. That drove many residents to take shelter in hotels instead, according to STR.

Occupancy for the state during the week of the storm, Feb. 14 to 20, rose to 56.3 percent, a 50-week high. That contributed 0.9 percentage points of the 3-point gain in overall U.S. occupancy for the week, which stood at 48.1 percent. It was 9.4 percent over the previous week, the largest week-over-week occupancy increase for the state in the last year, and ADR was up 5.8 percent compared to the previous week, the state’s largest gain in the metric since the week of New Year’s.

“Texas hotels are no stranger to housing displaced guests during a pandemic,” said Isaac Collazo, STR’s vice president of analytics. “Similar to what we saw with Hurricane Laura [and other hurricanes in prior years], there was increased hotel demand for most markets because there wasn’t a great deal of business to lose ahead of the storm. We would have likely seen higher hotel performance across the state had hotels not experienced similar power and water loss as homes, in addition to the limited number of rooms available in some hotels due to reduced staffing as a result of the pandemic.”

The increase in occupancy followed an upward trend the state has seen in five of the past seven weeks, Collazo said.

The storm caused power and water outages that forced many Texans to flee their homes, taking shelter in hotels. Some melted snow for fresh water.

“Different from the impact of Hurricane Laura, we expect performance to continue on this course due to increased demand from insurance adjusters and displaced residents, as water damage from frozen pipes still remains in many homes and businesses throughout the state,” he said.

McAllen/Brownsville reported the highest occupancy level with 72.3 percent, placing it among the top 10 highest occupancy markets in the U.S. Fort Worth/Arlington saw the second-highest occupancy level with 62.4 percent followed by Texas West with 60 percent.

McAllen/Brownsville also saw a 1.2 percent increase in occupancy over the same time last year, as did two other STR defined markets in the state, Texas East with a 6.6 percent rise and Texas South with 2.4 percent. All Texas markets, except Texas North, saw a week-over-week lift in occupancy.

ADR was down year-over-year for all markets, but McAllen/Brownsville saw a 1.1 percent year-over-year increase in RevPAR, the only market in the state to do so.

Miraj Patel, president of Wayside Investment Group in Houston, said some of his hotels did see higher occupancy during the week. That came at price, however.

“Dealing with no power, no water, pipes busted at hotels,” Patel said during the winter storm. “Hoping this winter storm goes away soon!”