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Jax Daily Record Wednesday, Oct. 21, 202005:40 PM EST

Jacksonville hotel business rebounding from COVID-19

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Duval County properties report September occupancy was the highest since the pandemic began.
by: Max Marbut Associate Editor

The hotel business continues to rebound from effects of the COVID-19. 

Average hotel occupancy in Duval County in September was 57.3%, the highest since the pandemic shut down business and leisure travel in mid-March and a 6.1% increase compared with August, according to data provided by Visit Jacksonville.

The start of the pandemic reduced average occupancy in March to 55.6%. In April, the first full month of the travel restrictions, occupancy hit it lowest level at 29.9%.

Average occupancy in the U.S. in September was 48.3%.

Among the top 25 markets, Oahu Island, Hawaii, reported the lowest September occupancy level (21.3%), which represented a 74.9% decline in year-over-year comparison. Hawaii required a mandatory 14-day quarantine for visitors.

Norfolk/Virginia Beach, Virginia, reported the highest September occupancy level, 56.8%, which was down 10.7% compared with 2019. 

San Diego (54%) and Los Angeles/Long Beach (53.8%) were the only other top 25 markets with occupancy above 50%.

The average rate paid per room in September in Duval County was $79.11, about $15 less than in September 2019. Revenue for the month countywide was $24.4 million, $8.4 million below last year.

Downtown hotels, at 42% occupancy, continue to be the most affected by the pandemic because of the loss of group travel and convention business. Properties in West Jacksonville again reported the highest occupancy, 63.6%, and lowest loss of business compared to last year, down 16.9%.

Year-to-date occupancy is 55.3%, a loss of more than 26% compared to 2019. Room revenue for the first nine months of 2020 was $232 million, a loss of $165.5 million compared with 2019.

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