Houston hotels take a beating
Houston – 29 August 2017 –
Houston’s hotel market, already the worst-performing in the US, is poised to take a further beating from Hurricane Harvey as the natural disaster creates chaos in a city that’s been reeling from low oil prices for the past three years, Bloomberg reported.
Some area hotels are offering discounts to alleviate the temporary housing emergency, and Texas Governor Greg Abbott suspended the state and local hotel and motel occupancy tax for relief-effort personnel and storm victims. The suspension will last 14 days, according to the governor’s website.
The area’s hotels may be filled at first by first responders, Federal Emergency Management Agency workers, insurance adjusters and others dealing with Harvey’s aftermath – and there may be fewer available rooms as some properties suffer damage from the storm.
The longer-term impact for lodging, however, is likely to be negative, said Carter Wilson, vice president of consulting and analytics at STR, a data provider for the industry. “It’s going to be very hard on Houston for the foreseeable future,” Wilson said.
Marriott International and Hilton Worldwide, the two largest hotel operators globally, said hotels in the affected area have the authority to waive cancellation fees.
The hotel industry in Houston, the fourth-largest city in the US and its energy capital, has struggled because of depressed oil prices. Occupancy and room rates in the city are down for the third consecutive year, according to STR. RevPAR declined 4.6 percent year to date, after falling 12.5 percent last year and 3.4 percent in 2015, the firm said.
Hilton said its properties in the Houston area have not had any “significant physical damage and remain open and operational with limited services.” The company cited minor water damage and said that in some cases it’s offering limited services because of disruptions to food deliveries or people being unable to get to work. Hilton said it has more than 1,000 workers in the flooded areas.