Hotels in the five-parish region of New Orleans reported occupancy levels below 50% in September, a notable increase from the previous month but far below the previous year.
Industry analyst STR says occupancy stood at 47.9% compared to 33.6% in August. It was 66.5% in September 2019. STR collects data from hotels in Jefferson, St. Tammany, St. Bernard, Plaquemines and Orleans parishes for its New Orleans market analysis.
In the downtown New Orleans market, occupancy rose from 10-11% in August to 20-30% in September, according to Mavis Early, executive director of the Greater New Orleans Hotel & Lodging Association.
The regional numbers have risen each month since April, when the industry bottomed out nationwide. Occupancy was 22.9% in May, 27.4% in June and 28.9% in July.
Other key performance indicators remain down. The region reported average daily rates of $96.13 in September, a 30.5% decrease from September 2019. Revenue per room stood at $46.04, a nearly 50% drop.
The local industry isn’t expected to bounce back until festivals, conventions and other events resume. Downtown New Orleans hotels continue to notify the state of their plans to lay off workers.
Hotels that filed WARN notices in September include the Royal Sonesta New Orleans, where 235 are expected to be let go, and the Omni Royal Orleans, which said 145 could lose their jobs.
Others that notified the state earlier this year include The Roosevelt Hotel, where 124 employees would be affected, and the Hyatt Regency, which plans to lay off 30 workers. In July, the Hilton New Orleans Riverside told the state it anticipates 666 layoffs. The Wyndham on St. Charles Avenue reported 108 potential cuts. In June, hotels notifying the state of impending layoffs included the Hilton New Orleans Airport, the NOPSI Hotel, the Sheraton Hotel on Canal Street, the New Orleans Marriott Hotel, W French Quarter, the Downtown Marriott at the Convention Center and The Ritz-Carlton Hotel.