HRI: Leisure Travel Increased in March

NEW ORLEANS – Lior Sekler, vice president of revenue management at New Orleans-based HRI Lodging, said most U.S. travel markets experienced increased occupancy in March. Some, in fact, were hitting 80% of their 2019 numbers for the month. 

Liorsekler Large
Lior Sekler, HRI vice president of revenue management

“March madness is not only hitting the basketball brackets but also impacting the hotel industry,” said Sekler. “While the industry saw the first signs of pent-up demand this year over the Valentine’s Day/President’s Day weekend in February with national occupancy around 70%, in March most markets are realizing much higher occupancies and some getting back to 80% recovery compared to 2019.”

Sekler said spring break vacations were driving much of the increased travel activity, so weekends were busier than weekdays. The spring break effect is also the reason that markets with the highest occupancy and demand are warm, coastal destinations such as Miami, Tampa and Phoenix, but also New Orleans.

- Sponsors -

“As vaccination rates rise, we expect the demand pattern to continue rising into the second quarter,” said Sekler. “Other gateway urban markets such as NYC, Chicago and San Francisco should also experience higher occupancies but will be slower to recover given their reliance on international travel, which most likely won’t return until after the summer, as well as business and convention activity that will also be delayed.”

Hotels and airlines continue to offer very flexible booking and cancellation policies, and many are still keeping the booking window very short (less than 14 days in most markets). 

“Consequently, our hotels do not have much confirmed booking activity for the summer,” said Sekler. “But with school vacation, increased vaccination levels, reduced city and state restrictions, warm weather and additional openings, most if not all leisure destinations will experience increased demand. They may get back to at least 70% to 80% of 2019 summer travel levels.”

- Partner Content -

Entergy’s Energy Smart Program Brings Cost Conscious Innovation to New Orleans

Offering comprehensive energy efficiency at no cost to the consumer, Entergy’s Energy Smart program incentivizes Entergy New Orleans customers to perform energy-saving upgrades in...

Sekler said the focus on weekend travel will continue because concerts, special events and conventions aren’t expected to return until the fourth quarter.

Digital Sponsors / Become a Sponsor

Follow the issues, companies and people that matter most to business in New Orleans.

Email Newsletter

Sign up for our email newsletter