Hotel occupancy rate hits 4-year low

Hotel occupancy rate hits 4-year low (Image 1)

Nashville area hotels are falling on hard times and struggling to fill rooms.

According to numbers released by the Tennessee Hospitality Association, hotel occupancy in Davidson County hit a four-year low in 2008, at 62.5%.

“People are traveling less.  People are watching every penny and so they're being conscious about how they spend their dollars,” said Walt Baker with the THA.

He said as hotels compete for business, some are offering some great deals and special incentives to lure guests.

“You'll find people doing more packaging.  If they have additional inventory, they may offer a third night for two nights,” said Baker.

Despite low occupancy rates, several new construction projects are still moving forward, like Hutton Hotel which is set to open sometime early this year.

In fact, 13 hotels, with nearly 1,500 guest rooms are under construction in the Nashville market.

Construction on the Intercontinental on West End Avenue, however, is on hold.

Baker said it's too early to tell if 2009 will be a repeat of last year but he's optimistic it won't.

“Nashville is still doing business.  People are still coming for conventions, still coming for meetings.  We still have leisure travelers so we have enough demand to weather this storm a little bit,” he said.

The average hotel room rate in 2008 was $102.44.

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