In the days before Hurricane Irma made landfall in Florida, Miami-Dade’s hotels emptied out and profits plummeted, signaling the first of a sting of hurricane-induced challenges for the region’s tourism industry.
Now, a week after the hurricane, some properties have shuttered their doors until October as they repair damage caused by Irma’s strong winds.
According to first statistics on Irma’s impact to tourism, hotels in Miami-Dade were only 42 percent full between Sept. 6 and 9, the days following evacuation orders in areas of South Florida. That occupancy rate was nearly 38 percent less than the same time last year, according to data analytics firm STR.
42 percent Occupancy at Miami-Dade hotels from Sept. 6 to 9 before Irma arrived in Florida.
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Emptier hotels equated to emptier bank accounts, with a 47 percent drop in revenue per available room compared to the same time in 2016, when hotels were struggling as well due to the spread of the Zika virus. Because of the drop in demand, hotel rates took a dip, by 15 percent year-over-year, to about $118 a night on average.
In Broward, hotel rooms were slightly more full at 54 percent, an almost 18 percent dip from 2016. The average daily rate, however, held strong at about $100 a night, almost flat with this time last year. Revenue per available room declined by almost 19 percent.
The shifts in hotel performance was not surprising given the mandatory evacuation orders for Miami Beach, said Chad Church, STR’s vice president of client services. But less-than-stellar hotel numbers are expected to linger. .
As we are seeing in the early stages of Hurricane Harvey recovering in Houston, the impact on hotel demand will likely span months.
Chad Church, STR’s vice president of client services
“As we are seeing in the early stages of Hurricane Harvey recovering in Houston, the impact on hotel demand will likely span months as rooms are booked for relief workers, volunteers, government employees, contractors, insurance adjusters, media members and displaced residents,” Church said in a statement.
The company did not look at data from the Florida Keys because there was a lack of data reporting from that market on the days surveyed, STR said.
In the week since the storm, most hotels in South Florida have reopened after replacing damaged landscaping. But some properties, including the Raleigh Hotel, The Tides South Beach and Ritz Carlton South Beach, are still shuttered.
The Raleigh Hotel, The Tides South Beach and Ritz Carlton South Beach are closed until October.
An automatic phone message at the Tides Hotel says that the hotel suffered damage to its “room floors, lobby and kitchen areas.” As of Saturday, the hotel planned to reopen by Oct. 1, depending on when restorations are completed. The Raleigh hotel, too, plans to reopen the first week of October. And the Ritz, which had initially announced it would reopen by the weekend, has now moved its opening date back to Oct. 6.
The closures are not unusual, Church said, and will likely not reflect the massive hotel closures that have occurred after more catastrophic storms.
“We don’t expect a shocking loss of an inventory like we saw after Hurricane Katrina in 2005,” Church said.