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U.S. Hotel Performance—Unsurprisingly—Hits New Lows in April

The adage “March winds and April showers bring forth May flowers” appropriately captures current U.S. hotel performance, which satisfied the features of the first two months and can only hope May turns up rosier.

April’s showers were, indeed, forecasted. COVID-19 tightened its grip around U.S. states and cities where lockdowns were omnipresent, stay-at-home orders abounded and travel was at a near standstill.

The result was a month’s worth of grim hotel data.

With occupancy rates off 73 percentage points from a year prior, and a steep drop in average room rate, RevPAR fell 95.2% year-over-year to a single-digit number, on a per-available-room basis.

With virtually no ancillary revenue generated, including F&B revenue of below $1 per-available-room, TRevPAR decreased 95% YOY. While closed hotels or those running bare-bones operations saved on the expense side, including total labor costs down 73.5% YOY, gross operating profit per available room still suffered tremendously, down 122.8% YOY to $-26.34, the second consecutive month of GOPPAR as a negative value.

While YOY comparisons have historically been the norm of performance measurement to capture seasonal fluctuation, COVID-19 is a truly extraordinary and unprecedented event that has made month-to-month comparison a worthwhile tool to measure real improvement or deterioration. Hoteliers are hoping that April is the bottom: Between March and April, TRevPAR declined 87%; GOPPAR worsened 106%.

Profit & Loss Performance Indicators – Total U.S. (in USD)

KPI April 2020 v. April 2019 YTD 2020 v. YTD 2019
RevPAR -95.2% to $8.81 -42.8% to $97.43
TRevPAR -95.0% to $14.40 -41.3% to $159.32
Payroll PAR -73.5% to $25.54 -22.7% to $74.28
GOPPAR -122.8% to $-26.34 -67.7% to $32.62

Washington, D.C.
For the nation’s capital, where a stay-at-home order isn’t set to expire until June 8, April was a consecutive month of hotel hardship, with many big-box hotels idle and other hotels operating amid a ghost town of vacant offices and a paucity of tourists normally in town to view the cherry blossoms in full bloom.

In a town filled with lobbyists, you couldn’t find a lobby full. Or a room. Occupancy rate for the month was at an infinitesimal level and even with rate holding fairly strong (22.7% down from the same time a year ago), RevPAR cratered 98.3% YOY. TRevPAR suffered a similar fate, falling 98.5% YOY.

With revenue at nearly zero, combined with some lingering expenses that persevere despite property closures and scaled-back operations, GOPPAR declined 119.5% YOY, down to $-33.34. From March to April, GOPPAR was down 18%.

Profit & Loss Performance Indicators – Washington, D.C. (in USD)

KPI April 2020 v. April 2019 YTD 2020 v. YTD 2019
RevPAR -98.3% to $4.32 -52.1% to $92.91
TRevPAR -98.5% to $6.00 -50.0% to $151.73
Payroll PAR -82.5% to $22.55 -21.6% to $97.12
GOPPAR -119.5% to $-33.34 -98.1% to $1.87

New Orleans
New Orleans, a city hit initially hard by the coronavirus, has seen progress flattening the curve, and with just over 7,000 confirmed cases, is now in Phase 1 with regard to reopening. The city’s economy relies heavily on tourism, especially in the French Quarter, where some semblance of normalcy is coming back: famed Café du Monde reopened in May—although eating a beignet with a mask on could present difficulty. Meanwhile, French Quarter Fest, slated for October, was officially scrapped.

April data was naturally and drastically down. The city’s occupancy was down 78 percentage points over the same time a year ago and 26 percentage points from March. That, combined with a sharp decline in average rate, led to a 95.8% decline in YOY RevPAR. The drop in RevPAR from March to April was especially pronounced, declining 88%.

The dearth of revenue, both rooms and ancillary, led to a sharp decline in TRevPAR, which was down 94.9% YOY and 87% from March.

GOPPAR fell 110% YOY and reached a negative value for the first time, at $-12.39.

Profit & Loss Performance Indicators – Washington, D.C. (in USD)

KPI April 2020 v. April 2019 YTD 2020 v. YTD 2019
RevPAR -95.8% to $7.32 -42.9% to $97.28
TRevPAR -94.9% to $13.00 -40.8% to $151.11
Payroll PAR -80.1% to $12.63 -25.5% to $48.45
GOPPAR -110.1% to $-12.39 -54.9% to $55.06

While it's still too early to tell, May could see the first buds of a travel rebound in the U.S., if the more sanguine trends in China follow suit. The numbers will still pale in comparison year-over-year, but month-to-month, things potentially could be getting better.

North America Annual Hotel Performance Tracker

United States RevPAR GOPPAR COVID-19

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