By Fatima Thompson
The first month of the year is usually the start of the high performance season in the Caribbean, but hotel figures came in at their lowest January level in years, according to the latest data from STR.
Occupancy was nearly flat (-0.6%) compared with last January, but the absolute level (68.5%) was the lowest for the month since 2011. Even as supply growth has tapered, this was the Caribbean’s third consecutive month of year-over-year occupancy declines. At the same time, a 2.2% drop in average daily rate (ADR) was the largest for any January since 2009, and the absolute level ($232.01) was the lowest for the month since 2014. As a result, revenue per available room (RevPAR) dipped 2.8% to its lowest absolute level for a January ($158.91) since 2013.
Bucking the trend was the Cayman Islands, which experienced the largest increase in ADR (+18.8%) and the second-largest increase in occupancy (+14.8%), while Trinidad and Tobago showed the only other double-digit rise in occupancy (+12.5%).
When examining performance of the islands where STR maintains a sufficient reporting sample, we saw that Puerto Rico experienced the strongest increase in occupancy (+18.0% to 76.5%) and the second-largest increase in RevPAR (+30.7% to $169.84).
A sizable decline in supply (-10.0%) helped lift that performance, but the numbers are still attributable to post-storm demand from residents who have been displaced from their homes and are receiving refuge in hotels, along with workers and relief companies on the island working to rebuild the infrastructure.
The message has remained consistent that the Caribbean is open for business following a devastating hurricane season. The region’s hotels are no doubt hoping for better performance, especially with peak season on the books.
Fatima Thompson is the Associate Director of Business Development, Hotels, Caribbean & Mexico for STR.
For questions regarding hotel data reporting in the Caribbean, please contact Fatima at email@example.com.