Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Hotel Occupancy Down, Oil Prices Blamed

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Hotel Occupancy Down, Oil Prices Blamed

Article excerpt

OKLAHOMA CITY - Jan Freitag was hesitant to start his Oklahoma hotel performance presentation on Tuesday. He didn't want to deliver the news.

"Where (the price of oil goes), so goes room demand," he said. "You used to have demand growth of 8 percent."

From July 2015 to July 2016, Oklahoma hotel demand dropped 3.5 percent, while supply increased 2.9 percent. The state's hotel occupancy decreased 6 percent and the average daily rates dropped 0.6 percent, according to STR, a data and analytics company that tracks hotel industry performance. Freitag is the company's senior vice president.

"The supply increase certainly doesn't help your occupancy rate going forward," he said.

Freitag spoke at the Oklahoma Hotel and Lodging Association's annual forecasting luncheon, held Tuesday at the Skirvin Hilton Hotel. STR looked at the occupancy rates in different areas. In west Oklahoma, hotels had an 18.3-percent decline in revenue per available room, or RevPAR.

In Enid, the city's hotels had a 17-percent decline in occupancy from July 2015 to July 2016. Visit Enid Director Marcy Jarrett said the city had a 15-percent increase in supply for that period, putting about 200 more rooms online in the area.

As of STR's August report, the city's occupancy was up 6 percent compared to August 2015. Jarrett said there are a lot of construction workers staying in the city's hotels.

"It's a layered market," she said. "We are by far a high percentage of business travelers. That does keep us steady business during the week. Layer on that we are the medical and the regional hub for many different businesses."

The Central National Bank Center also brings in visitors for concerts and other activities, Jarrett said.

The occupancy decline also hit the state's two metros. Tulsa had the highest decrease with a 4.5-percent drop. Oklahoma City's occupancy declined 3.3 percent, STR found.

STR defines the Tulsa area as the city proper, north to the state line, south to Bristow, east to Wagoner, and northeast to Oologah Lake. …

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