By: Max Marbut
The hotel business continues to rebound from effects of the COVID-19.
Average hotel occupancy in Duval County in September was 57.3%, the highest since the pandemic shut down business and leisure travel in mid-March and a 6.1% increase compared with August, according to data provided by Visit Jacksonville.
The start of the pandemic reduced average occupancy in March to 55.6%. In April, the first full month of the travel restrictions, occupancy hit it lowest level at 29.9%.
Average occupancy in the U.S. in September was 48.3%.
Among the top 25 markets, Oahu Island, Hawaii, reported the lowest September occupancy level (21.3%), which represented a 74.9% decline in year-over-year comparison. Hawaii required a mandatory 14-day quarantine for visitors.
Norfolk/Virginia Beach, Virginia, reported the highest September occupancy level, 56.8%, which was down 10.7% compared with 2019.
San Diego (54%) and Los Angeles/Long Beach (53.8%) were the only other top 25 markets with occupancy above 50%.
The average rate paid per room in September in Duval County was $79.11, about $15 less than in September 2019. Revenue for the month countywide was $24.4 million, $8.4 million below last year.
Downtown hotels, at 42% occupancy, continue to be the most affected by the pandemic because of the loss of group travel and convention business. Properties in West Jacksonville again reported the highest occupancy, 63.6%, and lowest loss of business compared to last year, down 16.9%.
Year-to-date occupancy is 55.3%, a loss of more than 26% compared to 2019. Room revenue for the first nine months of 2020 was $232 million, a loss of $165.5 million compared with 2019.