STR: Dutch Caribbean Leads Regional Hotel Growth

aruba year round flightsThe Marriott in Aruba.

By Rico Louw
CJ Contributor

The Caribbean hotel industry showed performance growth just one month after a pair of massive hurricanes swept through the region.

Caribbean occupancy for the month was up 3.7% in year-over-year comparisons, and with a 6.9% increase in average daily rate (ADR), revenue per available room (RevPAR) rose 10.8% to US$92.11.

Historically, September and October are the slowest demand months in the Caribbean, but the 57.2% absolute occupancy level was the highest for an October in the region since 2004.

While it is difficult to parse the exact impact, the jump in occupancy could be due in part to displaced residents, relief workers, media and other demand related to the post-hurricane situations.

When looking at individual islands, Puerto Rico, a main driver of the region’s overall performance, showed an absolute occupancy of 70.1% (+27.6% year over year).

That occupancy level exceeded historical trends in the country, but the year-over-year growth was skewed higher by a comparison with a Zika-affected month last year. ADR in the market rose 30.0% to US$185.27, while RevPAR increased 65.9% to US$129.83.

Aruba experienced an 18.5% increase in occupancy, while Bermuda, a much smaller hotel market, also helped the region’s overall performance with a 14.4% rise in occupancy.

Netherlands Antilles experienced the highest year-over-year increase in occupancy (+49.5%).

Of the 13 islands in which STR maintains a sufficient reporting sample, eight reported a year-over-year increase in RevPAR.

In year-to-date measurements, performance indicators are bouncing back in line with early-year STR projections. While Caribbean occupancy is down slightly (-0.7%), ADR (+2.2%) has pushed RevPAR up (+1.5%). The dip in occupancy is primarily due to supply growth (+2.9%), which to this point, has outpaced solid demand (room nights sold).

That supply growth will continue as there are a number of new rooms in the development pipeline, specifically in the Dominican Republic, Jamaica and Cuba.

As of October, there were seven projects under construction in the Dominican Republic accounting for 2,188 new rooms. Another three projects in final planning would add 1,086 new rooms to the market. Jamaica reported just one in construction project in October, but another four projects and 3,190 rooms in final planning. Cuba showed a total a 2,628 rooms between five projects in the overall pipeline

Rico Louw is Client Account Manager at STR.

For questions regarding hotel data reporting in the Caribbean, please contact Louw at or +1(615) 824-8664 ext. 3455.


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