April occupancy rates put a spring in hotel owners’ step

Charleston County hotels reported occupancy at 85 percent in April, the third-highest monthly rate ever. Provided/Katherine Lowrie

STAFF REPORT April is traditionally one of Charleston’s better months for tourists, and this year was no different.

Charleston County hotels reported occupancy at 85 percent, the third-highest monthly rate ever, according to the Office of Tourism Analysis at the College of Charleston School of Business.

Overall, the county is up 2.6 percent year to date.

April’s numbers were down 0.9 percent from a year earlier or about 700 fewer room nights, but that’s probably because the Cooper River Bridge Run, traditionally a huge tourist draw, fell on March 31.

Room costs could have played a part as well. The average daily rate increased 8.4 percent to $140.42, while revenue per available room, or the average rack rate multiplied by the occupancy figure, rose 7.3 percent to $119.33.

The peninsula led all local markets in occupancy in April with almost 92 percent of rooms filled. The average rate was north of $203, and the revenue per available room was about $187. These were the highest monthly averages ever for the peninsula in all categories.

West Ashley also reported its highest occupancy rate ever at 90 percent. The average daily rate was $112.50. East Cooper hotels reported 83.1 percent occupancy, a bit above last year but no record. The average daily rate was $121.45.

The only area to register a decline in occupancy in April was North Charleston, which has been trending downward all year. Hotels reported 78.6 percent occupancy last month, down 4.4 percent from a year earlier. The average rate was $98.80. For the year, North Charleston is down 3.3 percent in occupancy.