By Rico Louw
Caribbean hotels reported double-digit performance growth as demand rose well above the levels seen during a hurricane-ravaged September in 2017, according to new data from STR.
In year-over-year comparisons, occupancy was up 6.9%, and average daily rate (ADR) rose 3.4%. This resulted in a 10.5% jump in revenue per available room (RevPAR).
On the islands where STR maintains a sufficient reporting sample, the Turks and Caicos Islands registered a 101.2% jump in RevPAR, driven by the highest rise in occupancy (+75.0%) and the largest lift in ADR (+17.3%).
When looking at Puerto Rico, the island recorded the second-largest increases in occupancy (+17.3%) and RevPAR (+32.5%) as well as a double-digit rise in ADR (+13.0%). Puerto Rico as a destination continues to do an excellent job of filling beds, showing it can bounce back from situations like the Zika outbreak and the devastation of Hurricane Maria. Good performance in U.S. markets also leads to confidence for Puerto Rico moving forward. Year to date through September, Puerto Rico reported an occupancy level of 75.2%—meaning that the island is selling more than seven of every 10 rooms on average.
Other islands reached similar levels in the metric through the first nine months of 2018: Aruba (76.7%), Curacao (71.1%) and Barbados (67.8%).
When looking at declines specifically for September, St. Lucia experienced the largest drop in occupancy (-16.3%), resulting in the largest decrease in RevPAR (-12.0%). Rates were, however, 5.1% higher in St. Lucia.
What we’re seeing is there is a lot of “noise” in the data, but this is going to change moving forward. The numbers are starting to stabilize a year after the hurricanes, and markets and their properties are coming back online and preparing for 2019 and beyond.
Currently, there are 46 hotels accounting for 11,449 rooms under construction in the Caribbean.
Rico Louw is client account manager at STR. For questions regarding hotel data reporting in the Caribbean, please contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.