Although Manhattan hotel occupancy rates dropped in January and February 2021 compared to 2020, preliminary data shows hotel occupancy rates increased in March 2021.

Karen Hibbard, director of the Manhattan Convention and Visitors Bureau, said Monday not many people traveled in January and February 2021 because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. January is a slower month for business activity in general, she added.

Although STR, a hospitality data and analytics company that compiles city hotel occupancy data, has not released full March 2021 numbers, Hibbard said the final three weeks of the month showed an increase in hotel occupancy compared to March 2020, when the coronavirus pandemic began and people first canceled activities and events. Hibbard said the official numbers could come as soon as Thursday.

“We’re just looking forward to arrows going up rather than going down,” Hibbard told The Mercury on Monday.

Manhattan’s hotel occupancy rate during the last week of March 2021 was 55.2%, up from the 21.3% rate recorded the final week of March 2020. During the third week of March 2021, the rate was 56.6%, an increase from the 27.1% rate reported from the third week of March 2020. The rate during the second week of March 2021 was 51.3%, up marginally from the 51.1% during the second week of March 2020.

“We’re beginning to see those numbers move up slightly,” Hibbard told Manhattan city commissioners last week. “Again, keep in mind these numbers are a little off because you have 72 rooms that are not included in that market.”

The city’s hotel room numbers are down by 72 after owners of the Hampton Inn, 501 East Poyntz Ave., decided to permanently close the hotel after a January fire caused about $5 million in damage. Manhattan’s inventory dropped to 1,165.

Manhattan’s hotel occupancy rate decreased 16.4 percentage points through February 2021 compared to the same time period in 2020.

Hotel occupancy in Manhattan through February 2021 was 38%. Through February 2020, Manhattan recorded an occupancy rating of 54.4%.

“When you look at that February 2020 (data), we were really set for a robust February because the pandemic had not hit us yet,” Hibbard said last week.

The average daily rate through February 2021 was $83.77, $7.63 lower than the $91.40 recorded rate through February 2020. Revenue per room through February 2021 decreased by $17.86. The revenue per room through February 2021 was $31.86. Through February 2020, it was $49.72.

The overall hotel revenue in the city was down about $1.3 million, or 37.6%, through February 2021. Hotels generated $3.6 million in revenue in February 2020 compared to $2.2 million in February 2021.

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