Nearly 80% of hotel rooms across the US are empty because of the coronavirus outbreak

Hyatt Seattle April 2020 heart

Karen Ducey/Getty Images

The Hyatt Regency strategically lit up rooms to create a heart on April 2, 2020 in Seattle, Washington. Hotel operations have ceased since the outbreak of the coronavirus, resulting in an empty hotel void of lights.

Almost 80% of hotel rooms across the US are empty as the coronavirus pandemic brings travel to a halt, according to new data released by hospitality analytics company STR for the week ending April 4.

That's a 68.5% decrease in occupancy from the same period of time last year. Advertisement

Average daily room rates also dropped by more than 40% year-over-year to $76.51.

Of the hotels still open, budget hotels showed the highest occupancy rates, STR found. "Economy hotels continued to run the highest occupancy, while interstate and suburban properties once again posted the top occupancy rates among location types," Jan Freitag, STR's senior VP of lodging insights, said in the report.

Of the top 25 US markets, Oahu Island in Hawaii saw the largest occupancy decline year-over-year, with only 7% hotel occupancy as of April 4. On March 17, Hawaii's governor asked tourists to stay away for 30 days and implemented a stay-at-home order for residents effective March 23.
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In New York, New York, the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak, hotel occupancy is down to 18.3%, and in Seattle, where the first US coronavirus infection was identified, occupancy has dropped to 19.5%.

Chip Rogers, President and CEO of the American Hotel and Lodging Assocation (AHLA), said last month that the impact of the coronavirus outbreak on the hospitality industry is "more severe than anything we've seen before, including September 11th and the great recession of 2008 combined."Recently, hotels have started to partner with healthcare and government agencies to offer empty hotel rooms to healthcare workers and vulnerable populations. Over 15,000 hotels across the US have volunteered to help through AHLA's Hospitality for Hope program, launched March 24, and large hotel brands have announced their own partner initiatives to offer hotel rooms to those in need. On Monday, Hilton and American Express announced their plan to offer hotel rooms free of charge to up to 1 million medical workers represented by 10 associations.Advertisement

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