Triangle Hotels Have Good Fall, Not as Good as Neighbors

December 29th, 2011 by Desiree Parker

Fall hotel occupancy rates in the Historic Triangle were consistently up over last year, but still significantly lower than nearby locales. Top-tier hotels grabbed the biggest share of visitors each of the three months.

According to Smith Travel Research hotel occupancy numbers (which do not include Colonial Williamsburg properties), occupancy in the Triangle in September was 39.9 percent, or 4.2 percent higher than September last year. October occupancy was 45.4 percent, up 7.7 percent, and November was at 32.7 percent, up 11.8 percent over last year.

“This increase is a glimmer of good news for the hotel industry,” said Williamsburg Hotel Motel Association President Billy Scruggs. Though this is good news for hoteliers, “we need to get up 10 percent in demand, and that would help bring us back to a healthy market,” he said.

According to STR, Virginia Beach, the Norfolk and Portsmouth area, and the Newport News and Hampton area each were roughly 10 percentage points higher in occupancy or more across all three fall months.

In September, these areas were at 67.1 percent, 58.4 percent and 57.2 percent, respectively. In October, they were at 54.9, 55.3 and 55.7 percent, and in November they reached 43.4, 48.8 and 52.8.

Scruggs said the reason that Virginia Beach is doing so much better is because “Virginia Beach reinvented itself just over 10 years ago when they were on an unsustainable path. They’ve been successful in turning themselves around.”

To get numbers higher in the greater Williamsburg area, “it takes more marketing dollars,” Scruggs said.

Though the Triangle saw increases in each month, upper-tier hotels gobbled up a big share of the pie. Each of the three months, the most expensive hotels had higher occupancy than mid-tier and lower-tier hotels.

“What you see is a great disparity between the tiers,” said Scruggs. “In our market, I think we have lost the lower-tier attraction. Here, it is a different socio-economic model now.” Anecdotally, he has heard that much of this lost traffic is going to Virginia Beach.

He said he expects the numbers will be better than last year for the winter season, too. “With December’s mild temperatures, more holiday programming than ever, and consumer confidence rising, there are indications that continued increases could be in store.”

2 Responses to Triangle Hotels Have Good Fall, Not as Good as Neighbors

  1. fingers crossed

    December 29, 2011 at 3:16 pm

    I think that a major reason the upper tier brands are fairing better is that they have lowered their rates thus stealing market share from lower tier brands. My guess is that if you were to compare the rates of our upper tier hotels to neigboring localities we would be lagging. As mentioned, this is a demand problem for the area but none the less it is nice to see any level of improvement for our major revenue generating industry. Here’s to hoping 2012 continues to show improvement to our area.

  2. Hotel bombs

    December 31, 2011 at 5:06 pm

    Lets get real folks. To fill Hotel or other accommodations people are needed. “These people” need a reason to visit the Williamsburg area. Evidently just a visit to CW is not progressive enough to draw tourist. To fill rooms the Hotels must give something more. Each must creat a program package, inform tourist what is avaiable in tonew or old. Create a desire for “them” to visit.

You must be logged in to post a comment Login