September 24, 2023


For splendid leisure

Leisure, sports travel fuel hotel occupancy uptick after pandemic decline

4 min read

Hospitality executives see beneficial signals of leisure travel activity raising across West Michigan, although corporate journey continue to lags pre-pandemic levels.

“For leisure vacation, there is a lot of pent-up need and we have been enduring that,” claimed Peter Beukema, founder of 6PM Hospitality Partners LLC who previously served as CEO of Suburban Inns. “Last summer season, journey was definitely off the charts, and staffing ranges designed it truly hard, but it was good. This winter season and tumble were being greater than anticipated, but absolutely not where by it was (pre-pandemic).”

Hotel occupancy throughout the region is envisioned to continue trending upward and is forecasted to common 63.4 per cent this 12 months — nearing the 66 p.c occupancy charge in 2019, according to knowledge from STR Inc. and Oxford Economics. The normal nationwide occupancy rate was 44 per cent in 2020 and 57.6 %  in 2021.

Place earnings lessened by practically 50 per cent in 2020 but is predicted to nearly return to 2019 degrees in 2022, though non-area investing on assembly rentals, events and foods buys is expected to lag, according to an American Lodge & Lodging Association 2022 State of the Hotel Marketplace report.

Hospitality leaders in Grand Rapids, Holland and Kalamazoo assume to see journey traits from last calendar year proceed in 2022. While business travel continues to lag, pent-up need has made leisure travelers the main driver of lodge occupancy fees. 

“The lacking piece is corporate journey,” stated Experience Grand Rapids Executive Director Doug Compact. “That is lacking and has been really gradual to appear back. I’m not confident it will at any time entirely arrive again.”

Some organizations adapted to discipline get the job done by means of world-wide-web conferencing in the course of the pandemic, which cuts down on expenditures, Modest discussed. Team journey for business is expected to return more rapidly since of the issues of keeping hybrid meetings, when leisure vacation has had the strongest displaying among the kinds of journey over the earlier calendar year, Tiny said. 

“Weekend travel has been each and every little bit as very good as it was in 2019,” Little reported. “Weekends have been genuinely solid due to the fact the summertime of 2021 all the way by now. That is men and women with pent-up need saying, ‘I will need to get out.’”

When weekend journey picked up at the back 50 percent of 2021, occupancy rates for Kent County resort rooms ranged from about 72 to 90 per cent. 

Like in quite a few other industries, hospitality carries on to grapple with hiring and retaining workforce.

“Destination marketing organizations like ourselves have never experienced to get associated in workforce progress before, but now we’re focused on that for resorts and eating places to check out to appeal to and establish a bigger pool of talent for our stakeholders,” Little said. “Hotels are staggering trying to hold up. They are heading to have to master how to operate with leaner groups.”

In an Oct 2021 American Hotel & Lodging Affiliation member survey, 94 percent of respondents said their inns were understaffed, while 47 percent stated they were being severely understaffed.

The normal occupancy charge for lodge rooms throughout Kent County was at 46 per cent throughout the very first two months of 2022, an increase from 31.7 percent in the course of the very same period in 2021 while nevertheless under the 57.7-percent amount in 2019.

“I’m cautiously optimistic we can be back again to pre-pandemic figures subsequent year in 2023, and we are viewing indicators that projection will transpire,” Compact reported. “As much as we’re excited about our advancement, we have nonetheless got get the job done to do.”

Travel in the Holland location should really decide up this summer time with the complete return of the Tulip Time Pageant immediately after it was considerably scaled again in 2021. The lodge evaluation district in the place comprises the city of Holland and Holland, Park and Zeeland townships. Occupancy fees had been just beneath the national regular past 12 months at 55.7 per cent and mainly consisted of leisure journey, reported Linda Hart, executive director of the Holland Spot Convention and Site visitors Bureau

“Corporate travel has lagged and we realized that was coming, but we are observing an uptick in out of doors sporting activities tournaments like softball, which has often been incredibly popular in our group,” Hart said. “We’re hoping to deliver in Zig Zag Greatest Frisbee tournaments to Holland, which would be a terrific chance for us.”

The CityFlatsHotel in Holland, which is managed by 6PM Hospitality, had report months for occupancy in January and February of 2021, Beukema explained. He credits the profitable months to the hotel’s rebranding as a Tapestry Collection by Hilton.

“Every one thirty day period in 2021 we have been under our 2019 occupancy ranges other than for December when we have been greater than 2019 concentrations,” Hart said. “We chalk that up to a incredibly thorough electronic marketing marketing campaign we switched to once the pandemic hit. We had a good fourth quarter.”

Find out Kalamazoo President and CEO Jane Ghosh echoed Small and Hart about a profitable travel year toward the close of 2021. 

“The lodge area evening demand from customers for the total yr (of 2021) was up 59 per cent from 2020 in Kalamazoo,” Ghosh said. “That’s the most effective of all the markets in Michigan that we search at. We feel pretty very good about our restoration.”

The range of Kalamazoo County resort rooms also improved by 7-percent from 2020 to 2021 as 3 new hotels opened in the spot, Ghosh explained. 

“For us, sporting functions have led the way. We’re internet hosting all forms of sporting functions and we have teams here all the time with family members and venues doing it safely and securely,” Ghosh stated. “There is also pent-up demand from customers — individuals are just anxious to get out and Kalamazoo is a great sector for that simply because we’re a smaller sized city with tons to do.” | Newsphere by AF themes.