56 – COVID Hotel Industry Trends With Jan Freitag Pt. II


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In another special edition of the Suite Spot, Senior Vice President of Lodging Insights at STR, Jan Freitag returns to the podcast for an insightful conversation. Jan and his team at STR are continuing to closely monitor industry data and trends post-COVID-19. Jan and Ryan discuss changes in the industry since they last spoke in June (You can hear that conversation by listening to Episode 51). In this episode, Jan talks about the health of the US hotel pipeline and predicts what we can expect to see in new build growth moving forward. Jan shares which markets are experiencing an increase in occupancy and which types of travelers are filling rooms right now. Ryan and Jan also talk about the impact that back-to-school will have on travel, and they speculate about what the rest of 2020 could look like for hoteliers. For more information and insights from the STR team, visit their COVID-19 resource center at STR.com. To submit a question for future episodes, call or text 407-984-7455. Suite Spot Podcast · 56 - COVID Hotel Industry Trends With Jan Freitag Pt. II Episode Transcript Our podcast is produced as an audio resource. Transcripts are generated using speech recognition software and human editing and may contain errors. Before republishing quotes, we ask that you reference the audio. Ryan Embree: Welcome to Suite Spot where hoteliers check in and we check out what's trending in hotel marketing. I'm your host, Ryan Embree. Hello everyone, welcome to another episode of the Suite Spot. This is your host Ryan Embree, but you are in for quite a treat. We have once again, a special guest that joined us a couple episodes ago. He has been the calming presence in these turbulent times that we're going through right now and that is Senior Vice President of Lodging Insights at STR, Jan Freitag. So Jan welcome back to the Suite Spot. Jan Freitag: Thank you, Ryan. I appreciate the opportunity to be with you, to be back with you. I'm not sure that I'm such a calming influence. The data that we're putting out, is getting better, I guess, you know, it's not that great, but yeah, it's been quite a ride since the beginning, quite a ride since we last talked. So I'm happy to chat more about what we're seeing in the industry today. Ryan Embree: Absolutely and that's what this episode is completely about. I felt like the last episode was just a couple of days ago, but it also feels like it's been months in between - kind of like our lives are feeling right now in this pandemic. So, you know, speaking of that last time, we were starting to see those early signs of recovery. We were seeing some encouraging signs out there. You and your team were sharing some great information, then all of a sudden, not so fast, the rises in cases in the United States came in the month of July. How has that impacted the industry's recovery and STR future projections? Jan Freitag: Yeah, so it is nice to see that the U S occupancy for the week ending August the 15th actually hit 50%, 50.2%. Now it's true, that that is only for the hotels that are open, you know, and so just under 5% of rooms are still temporarily closed. That is totally skewed towards the upper end, right? Full service, luxury, ana upper upscale hotels are more likely closed than economy properties, where we are basically completely open again. But so occupancy, 50%, half the rooms are occupied, great. Leisure travel continues to dominate, weekend travel, weekend occupancies, you know, 57% continue to be very, very healthy, and extended stay continues to outperform, lower end continues to outperform. All of that, all of those are good signs. And I think we've seen that through July and I think we're probably gonna see that little bit more through August. The big question, the hundred billion dollar question is, "What happens after Labor Day, right?" When kids are back in school virtual or real, whatever, but we're not as eager to get back out on the road,