IN A CYCLE often seen in the hospitality industry, the disaster of California’s recent wildfires has led to a boom in occupancy for local hotels, according to STR. Specifically, properties in Butte County, near the deadly Camp Fire, and the Oxnard/Ventura area close to the Woolsey Fire, saw substantial boosts from housing evacuees and emergency workers.
Butte County saw a 43.3 percent increase in demand from Nov. 7-27 over 2017, leading to a 43.4 percent rise in occupancy to 85.6 percent and 3.6 percent growth of ADR to $102.49. On Nov. 25, the peak of demand in the county, demand grew 120.1 percent over last year.
Market structure accounts for the high growth in the area of the fire, said STR consultant Hannah Smith. “Butte County, and the surrounding counties affected by the Camp Fire, account for just 94 hotels and 4,810 rooms,” she said. “Roughly 75 percent of that supply is classified in the midscale or economy segments, which are much more likely to accommodate longer-term, disaster-related demand. For comparison, the Oxnard/Ventura submarket and its surrounding areas comprise 40,950 rooms across 420 hotels. Only 28 percent of that supply is in those midscale and economy classes, while more than 45 percent is classified as upper upscale or luxury.”
For the Oxnard/Ventura area, demand rose 12.4 percent between Nov. 7 and 23 and 12.4 percent in occupancy over the previous year to 81.9 percent. ADR in the area rose 8.0 percent to $145.05. Other submarkets in the area saw increases in demand, notably Santa Monica/Marina Del Rey with a 9.3 percent rise and 8.9 percent for Los Angeles.
A similar trend was seen after wildfires ravaged Northern California in 2017.