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Hotel occupancy numbers climbing as coronavirus pandemic continues

While the numbers are still very low, experts believe people are trusting hotel safety measures. Stay-home orders being lifted are also having a potential impact.

AUSTIN, Texas — After a very low occupancy rate for hotel rooms in Austin, the number of people staying them is beginning to climb again. 

According to hospitality data firm STR, hotel occupancy was down to just 3.4% in the Austin Central Business District for the week of April 5 to April 11. 

That number has since climbed to 10.1% for the week of May 10 to May 16. It again rose to 16.5% for the week of May 17 to May 23. 

Nationwide, hotel occupancy saw a rate of 21% from April 5 to April 11. That rate has jumped up to 32.4%.

Credit: Andrew Sanchez

“It really couldn’t go any further down so we expected it to come up. The question of recovery – trajectory is on a lot of people’s minds and we’re seeing a slow sort of step-up – point here, point there you know, week after week after week…” said Jan Freitag, a senior vice president with STR. 

Freitag added that Memorial Day weekend was very successful for hotels, especially for submarkets near beaches. 

“If we dig deeper into the data, we’d see, you know, that leisure drive to markets did relatively better than markets that you have to fly to," Freitag said. 

He also said that weekend leisure travel is what potentially would make its comeback first before business travel. 

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Hotel occupancy down to 3.4% in Austin Central Business District from April 5-11

“Number one is, of course, that the travel/tourism industry and the hotel industry have been in the forefront of telling travelers, ‘Look, it's safe to be with us and here’s 17 reasons why, here’s how we clean a room, here’s how we clean a bed, here is how we’re going make you feel more comfortable,' more touchless tech,” Freitag said. “Number two is also that stay-home orders expired in a lot of different places and people are just sick and tired of staying in their own four walls for the last two months.”

The Fairmont hotel in downtown Austin announced recently that they would open their doors on June 1, while implementing a long list of safety guidelines. 

A spokesperson for the JW Marriott, said they're hoping to open sometime in the Summer. 

White Lodging returned the Fairfield Inn Austin North to operations. And the Aloft and Element Downtown remain open, as does Courtyard and Residence Inn Austin Downtown, Hyatt Place Austin Downtown and the Hilton Garden Inn Austin North.

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