Big falls in US hotel occupancy

New data from Smith Travel Research shows that occupancy rates at American hotels dropped to 45.9 percent in January. That’s down from 51.5 percent in January 2008.From January of 2008 to 2009, revenue per available room dropped 15.3 percent to $46.24 nationally, and the average daily rate was down 5.2 percent to $100.66.

“The U.S. lodging industry results in January continued to reflect the deteriorating economic conditions throughout the country,” Smith Travel Research President Mark Lomanno said. “In addition, the recent trend of accelerating declines in performance seen in the top 25 U.S. markets highlights the difficulty hotels face when declines in both business and leisure travel occur in tandem.”

Smith Travel reported last month that Phoenix posted the largest decline—11.2 percent—among the nation’s 25 largest markets.