STR: September U.S. Hotel Metrics Dip Again Despite Group Bump

The U.S. hotel industry reported lower key performance metrics in September compared with August, despite a strong showing in group demand beginning mid-month, according to STR. This was the second month in a row U.S hotel performance slowed after regular month-over-month increases since at least January.

Compared with September 2019, September 2021 occupancy was 61.2 percent, down 8.2 percent. Average daily rate was up 1 percent to $133.11. Revenue per available room declined 7.3 percent to $82.04.

Group demand for the week ending Sept. 18 eclipsed 1 million booked room nights for the first time since early in the pandemic, according to STR, and rose to 1.3 million the following week. At the same time, group average daily rate moved past $200 for the first time since February 2020.

Still, those bumps in weekly demand weren’t enough to raise the monthly performance averages past August levels. Group demand increased occupancy, but also “created a lowering effect on average daily rates, as group rooms for upper-tier classes are typically priced lower than transient rooms,” according to STR.

In the top 25 markets, none saw occupancy increase above 2019 levels. Denver reported the highest occupancy at 71.4 percent and was the only market above the 70 percent occupancy mark. San Diego was the next-strongest market at 67.1 percent. Orlando reported the lowest occupancy for the month at 49.2 percent, followed by Minneapolis at 50.5 percent. 

RELATED: STR: U.S. Hotel Recovery Slows in August

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Texas border sees bump in sales tax revenues despite COVID-19 travel restrictions

McALLEN, Texas (Border Report) — Despite Title 42 travel restrictions still in effect on the Southwest border, sales tax revenue figures for border cities and counties within Texas increased in August almost border-wide and that means more money for border communities this month, according to new data released by the Texas Comptroller’s office.

Sales tax allocations for October, which are based on sales tax revenue from August, show cities and counties statewide will get a revenue increase of about 20%. But on the border, most cities will receive an even bigger increase because of a bump in sales taxes during August.

That’s encouraging news for border communities that have suffered under travel restrictions — imposed in March 2020 under the Trump administration and extended through the Biden administration to help reduce the spread of coronavirus.

From El Paso, in West Texas, to the Gulf Coast city of Brownsville, border cities, on average had a 23% increase in sales tax revenues in August, the Texas Comptroller reported this week. Some border sales tax allocations include:

  • McAllen is getting a 23% increase from August 2020 and will receive $6.3 million, up from $5.2 million.
  • Laredo: A 23.4% increase and getting $3.9 million, up from $3.2 million.
  • Brownsville: A 23% increase and getting $3.95 million, up from $3.2 million.
  • Presidio: A 36% increase and getting 41,066, up from $30,111.
  • Eagle Pass: A 22.8% increase and getting $445,291, up from $362,445.
  • El Paso: A 16.5% bump and receive $9 million, up from $7.7.
  • Roma, in Starr County: A 3.7% increase and getting $114,134, up from $110,056.

There were some exceptions, however.

The South Texas city of Del Rio had only a 1% increase in sales tax revenue in August. However, that number is expected to greatly increase for September sales tax figures because that is when thousands of law enforcement and federal agents, journalists and volunteers descended upon the remote border town as a caravan of mostly Haitian migrants camped under the international bridge and brought worldwide attention to the city with a population of just 35,000.

ABOVE LEFT: An estimated 15,000 migrants, mostly Haitians, camped under the Del Rio International Bridge, as seen from atop the bridge on Sept. 17, 2021. RIGHT: A National Guardsman patrols the entrance to the bridge on Sept. 17, 2021. (Sandra Sanchez/Border Report File Photos)

Rio Grande City in Starr County saw a decrease of 5% in sales tax figures, which some attribute to Operation Lone Star, a program in which Gov. Greg Abbott has surged hundreds of Texas troopers to border communities to combat a surge in migrants.

Starr County Judge Eloy Vera earlier told Border Report that the presence of added troopers deters some residents from venturing to shop because many are low-income and have older vehicles, some not in compliance with state laws, and they don’t want to risk getting a ticket.

An examination by Border Report of tickets issued by Department of Public Safety troopers and other law enforcement found a disproportionate number of citations issued in Starr and Hidalgo Counties due to the increase in state troopers.

On Sept. 20, Abbott announced a $100 million grant program affiliated with Operation Lone Star to border communities to help enhance security as well as funds to border communities.

“This program will strengthen our response to the crisis at the border and help keep our communities safe,” Abbott said in a statement.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is surrounded by nine other governors on Wednesday, Oct. 6, 2021, at Anzalduas Park in Mission, Texas, on the banks of the Rio Grande. (Sandra Sanchez/Border Report)

During a visit to the Rio Grande Valley on Wednesday, along with nine other governors from across the nation, Abbott reiterated his support for Operation Lone Star and said Texas communities are bearing the fiscal brunt of border security, which he calls a federal responsibility.

“Texas and other states are taking action to do the federal government’s job,” Abbott said.

The state had applied to the Federal Emergency Management Agency for emergency funds citing the border crisis but was rejected by the Biden administration. On Thursday, Abbott sent a letter to President Biden to appeal the denial of funds.

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Badgers bump Crivitz; Ladycats trip Carney | News, Sports, Jobs

CRIVITZ, Wis. — Despite dropping the first set of the match, Niagara came back to win the final three sets, as the Lady Badgers defeated host Crivitz, 3-1 (22-25, 25-18, 25-15, 25-11) here Thursday night in Marinette-Oconto Conference action.

“Tonight was a big conference match and we started the night off slow but after the first set, the girls showed up and took control — taking them out of their comfort zone. We finished the match dominating at the net and hustling after every ball,” said veteran Niagara head coach Carol St. Arnauld.

“This team continues to grow with every match both in confidence and play. My girls have not lost a conference match since August and that speaks to their growth. I couldn’t be prouder of the resilience of this team,” St. Arnauld added.

Niagara returns home for the final regular season home match of the season as they host M&O foe Lena in a conference dual on Tuesday. On Thursday, the Badgers will travel to Lena for a M&O triangular with the host Lady Wildcats and Gillett.

Niagara Stats

Isabel Jacobs: 2 assists, 2 digs

Erin Lukowicz: 6 aces, 3 kills, 4 assists, 11 digs

Lily Loukus: 2 kills, 1 block, 1 dig

Steph Maes: 1 kill

Morgan Borchardt: 2 aces, 7 kills, 1 block, 20 assists, 2 digs

Abby Wells: 1 ace, 2 assists, 4 digs

Bailey Pearson: 1 ace, 12 kills, 4 blocks, 4 digs

Mallory Sanicki 3 kills

Emma Brasure: 6 kills, 13 digs

Florence 3,

Carney-Nadeau 0

FLORENCE, Wis. — On Parents Night, the Ladycats continued to show a balanced hitting attack and strong serving as Florence defeated Carney-Nadeau, 3-0 (25-10, 25-8, 25-21) in a non-conference match Thursday.

Morgan Tomczak led at the net with eight kills, three tip kills and three block kills.

“Isabella Millan had superb back row play along with Leah Young,” said Florence head coach Teresa Chrisman. “We had strong serving again tonight with Tyley Fyvie leading with six aces. Maddie Johnson led with 17 assists and had 100% serving. Bella Millan and Leah Young also had 100% serving.”

Chrisman said she’s encouraged by Florence’s play. “We need to stay consistent however, and the sky is the limit for this young team,” she said.

The Ladycats remain home as they’ll host Northern Lakes Conference foe Phelps in a varsity only makeup match at 5 p.m. today. Florence will host NLC power Three Lakes on Tuesday.

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Myrtle Beach International Airport anticipates bump in holiday travel

“You have to travel based on how you feel, your comfort zone,” said Elizabeth. “When I called my son and said baby you don’t have to come home because of what’s going on, he said mamma please, so I left it alone. He’s pretty comfortable in coming down. Come in, do the CDC guidelines. I think you’ll be alright.”

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