U.S. hotel RevPAR forecasted to drop 50.6% for 2020

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HENDERSONVILLE, Tennessee—Due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. hotel industry is projected to report a 50.6% decline in revenue per available room (RevPAR) in 2020, according to a special forecast revision from STR and Tourism Economics.

“The industry was already set for a non-growth year, now throw in this ultimate ‘black swan’ event, and we’re set to see occupancy drop to an unprecedented low,” said Jan Freitag, STR’s senior VP of lodging insights. “Our historical database extends back to 1987, and the worst we have ever seen for absolute occupancy was 54.6% during the financial crisis in 2009. With roughly six of 10 rooms on average empty, already wavering pricing confidence will take a significant hit and drop ADR to a six-year low.”

STR’s latest monthly data (February) showed 55,734 hotels and 5,341,586 rooms in the U.S. Property closures are expected to lead to a 14.9% decline in room nights available for the year.

“Travel has come to a virtual standstill, but we expect the market to begin to regain its footing this summer,” said Adam Sacks, president of Tourism Economics. “Once travel resumes, the combination of pent-up travel demand and federal aid will help fuel the recovery as we move into the latter part of this year and next year.”