GOP primary helps boost Charleston County hotel occupancy 7.8 percent in January
The Republican presidential primary on Jan. 21 in South Carolina boosted occupancy in Charleston County hotels by 7.8 in January, with 18,000 more room nights sold compared to the same month last year, according to the College of Charleston’s Office of Tourism Analysis.
“A good portion of it was due to the primary,” said research analyst Kevin Smith, who prepared the monthly report. “Some of it might have been due to pent-up vacation demand.”
Lodgings reported an occupancy rate of 53.1 percent in what is traditionally one of the slower months of the year when occupancy falls below 50 percent.
At one point in the two weeks leading to the GOP primary, occupancy surged 17.6 percent as candidates, support staff and national media poured into the area, Smith said.
Also of note, the average daily rate for hotels in the county increased 5.3 percent to $103.54 while the revenue per available room jumped 13.4 percent to $55.10 over January 2011.
Peninsular Charleston hotels reported the highest occupancy rate of 62.5 percent, up 11.7 percent, with about 8,300 more room nights sold compared to January a year ago. East Cooper saw the biggest percentage jump in hotel occupancy, up 18.5 percent to 40.6 percent, with about 4,200 more room nights sold than in January 2011.
West Ashley posted a 10.7 percent increase in occupancy to 46.9 percent with about 1,900 more room nights sold over the previous January.
North Charleston hotels reported a 0.4 percent increase in occupancy, but the area had fewer rooms available than it did a year ago because the 197-room Ramada Inn near Northwoods Mall is closed until this fall for renovations. The number of room nights sold in North Charleston declined by 700, or 0.6 percent.
Hotels from the beach communities made up the difference in overall room nights sold in the county, Smith said.