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U.S. Hotels Suffered Worst Year Ever with Nearly Zero Profit

Occupancy for U.S. hotels averaged 44 percent in 2020, the lowest number on record, according to STR.

(Bloomberg)—U.S. hotels recorded the lowest occupancy rates on record in 2020, as the Covid-19 pandemic kept travelers at home and ate up lodging industry profits.

Hotel occupancy was just 44% for the year, down from 66% in 2019 and the lowest number on record, according to data provider STR. The industry passed 1 billion unsold rooms for the first time in history, topping the previous record of 786 million in 2009.

The industry will likely show nearly zero profit for the year, STR said.

Industry experts expect a slow recovery, with occupancy rates staying below 2019 levels through 2024. Even now, as vaccination efforts boost hopes for a boom in leisure travel, the rampant virus is depressing demand, and it’s hard to say when corporate travelers and meeting planners will start booking rooms again.

© 2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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