PGA boon for hotels

Tiger Woods hits a shot from the galleryarea on the 18th hole of the Ocean Course last month. (Mic Smith/Special to The Post and Courier/File)

The local lodging industry carded some good numbers last month.

Charleston County hotels swelled with overnight guests in August, thanks to the 2012 PGA Championship on Kiawah Island.

The lodging industry saw an overall increase of 7.4 percent in occupancy to 74.7 percent, and sold about 25,600 more room nights last month compared to August 2011, according to the College of Charleston’s Office of Tourism Analysis.

“August was a very good month for Charleston County,” said Perrin Lawson, deputy director of the Charleston Area Convention and Visitors Bureau.

“Every sub-market enjoyed increases in occupancy, average daily rate and revenue per available room. The PGA Championship certainly played a big role in this strong performance, but the entire month showed strength,” Lawson said.

The PGA is one of professional golf’s four “major” tournaments. This year’s competition was first major played in South Carolina, drawing an international field of players and spectators. It ran from Aug. 6 to 12.

The preliminary overall economic impact from the PGA was estimated at $193 million for the state. Of the estimated 210,000 fans, 50,000 were from outside of the area, according to a study tournament organizers released before the championship.

During the week of the event held at the Ocean Course, occupancy in all markets of the county was up 10 percent to 20 percent, said Kevin Smith with the College of Charleston

Also, revenue per available room — a key hotel figure calculated by multiplying the average daily room rate by the occupancy rate — shot up about 40 percent, Smith said.

“It was great,” he said. “And those next three weeks were up too.”

For all of last month, downtown Charleston led all the local lodging markets with 80.4 percent occupancy, 8 percent higher than last year.

West Ashley hotels posted occupancy of 79.3 percent, up 9.4 percent. East Cooper reported 72.3 percent occupancy, up 10.1 percent over last August, the highest percentage increase of any metro market.

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North Charleston, which has reported decreased lodging stays for several of the past few months, saw overnight hotel visits rise 4.1 percent. Its occupancy rate came in at 69.5 percent.

The North Charleston area still controls nearly half the rooms in the county. Of the 348,542 room nights sold last month, 151,796 were in that market. It also has the lowest room rates. Its average daily rate for August was $96.77, compared to downtown Charleston, which averaged $159.71, the highest in the region.

The average daily rate for all hotels in the county rose 11.3 percent to $124.13. The revenue per available room shot up 20.1 percent in year-over-year comparisons.

The county has about 15,060 rooms, including those at the Folly Beach, Isle of Palms and Kiawah, but lodging stays at those three beach communities are not included in the statistics because there are too few of them, Smith said.

Reach Warren L. Wise at 937-5524 or