The past year has been brutal for the Houston hotel industry. Normal occupancy in April is around 66%. Early last April it hit a low point of 22%, and has staged a comeback of around 60% as of last weekend.
The leisure industry is a top 5 employer in the city, and those service jobs were among those most dramatically impacted when hotels, restaurants and amusements were forced to close a year ago. More than 70% of jobs vanished quickly.
But a corner has been turned and in a vaccinated world the future is looking bright with the return of many large conventions headed for the George R. Brown.
“Oil and gas are coming back this summer in July,” says Cindy Decker, Vice President of Marketing Strategy with Houston First, which manages 10 City of Houston properties including the convention center and the Hilton Americas-Houston Hotel. “We start with the Shriners Convention in the beginning of July, we have an NRA convention over Labor Day weekend in September.” Decker says there are 16 major conventions already on the books for the second half of 2021. And she’s hearing good things from her associates in the hotel business in Galveston. “The island itself is seeing record high numbers. They’re seeing the highest occupancy and rates in hotels that they’ve historically ever seen.”
The Shriners Convention is July 4-8, the Bridal Extravaganza returns the end of July and the NRA is in Houston September 3-5.
photo: Getty Images