Hurricane Sandy, which first made landfall in Jamaica on Wednesday, 24 October, had a widespread impact on occupancy across the Caribbean, according to data from STR.
“The overall numbers were up for the week, which seems counterintuitive, but the reality is for many properties revenue per available room was already way up from last year in the days before knowledge of the storm,” said Carter Wilson, director at STR Analytics. “Compared with those trends, it’s clear that immediately before the storm hit, the islands’ occupancy levels were impacted dramatically, either from impending travelers canceling their visits or vacationers cutting short their stays. Average daily rate levels remained fairly moderate throughout the storm.”
Before the storm was a threat, occupancy on Monday, 22 October varied throughout the region. Some areas, including Trinidad & Tobago and San Juan, Puerto Rico, reported strong gains compared with the same Monday in 2011. Other areas experienced minimal change (Nassau, Bahamas) or reported occupancy declines.
When the storm hit 24 October, most hotels in the region reported occupancy declines. Jamaica hotels reported occupancy declines of 8.5 percent while Nassau hotels reported occupancy declines of 27 percent. Puerto Rico, however, reported an occupancy gain of 12.5 percent, and occupancy in San Juan jumped 43.8 percent.
Friday’s numbers were milder, with Nassau posting an 11-percent decrease in occupancy compared to the same day of week last year. As the storm continued to head north toward the U.S., most other Caribbean nations posted smaller gains, including the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and Barbados.