HENDERSONVILLE, Tennessee—The pre-emptive response to Hurricane Irma was significant, with approximately 6.3 million people in Florida alone ordered to evacuate, according to CNN. To put that in perspective, Florida’s population was estimated at 20.6 million people in the 2016 census, which means that more than a quarter of the population was under an evacuation order.
For a picture of how that affected hotel performance, STR’s initial analysis focuses on two groupings of markets—those markets in the projected path of Irma and markets that were evacuation points. (STR is the parent company of Hotel News Now.)
This analysis details impacts with the current data set for the week ending 9 September. The demand impact to the industry in these markets will likely span months as rooms are booked for relief workers, volunteers, government employees, contractors, insurance adjusters, media and press and displaced residents.
It’s important to note that data submission was interrupted across dozens of hotels over this time period as preparations were made for Irma. As hotels in the path catch up on historical reporting in the coming weeks, market performance figures presented in this article will be materially revised. Also, due to the lack of participation in the Florida Keys from Thursday, 7 September to Saturday, 9 September, we were unable to include data from that market.
As the full extent of the damage to hotels in the path of the storm is still unknown and continues to evolve, we will provide more data coverage in the coming weeks as details emerge.
Irma made landfall as a Category 4 hurricane in Florida the morning of Sunday, 10 September, making its presence felt in coastal cities across Florida. Irma moved through the state, eventually weakening into a tropical storm on Monday as it tracked through the southeastern United States. Many coastal markets in Florida, Georgia and South Carolina were affected as warnings were issued and evacuations began days prior to the storm making landfall. Flight cancellations topped 14,000 with hundreds of daily cancellations continuing through the weekend.