Florida Keys News - Florida Keys Free Press
Wednesday, May 10, 2017
Tourism report: Occupancy up, room rates down
Key Largo only region to see rate increase

MONROE COUNTY — Hotel occupancy was up and average daily rates were down in the Florida Keys during the first quarter of the year, according to the Monroe County Tourist Development Council’s most recent Smith Travel Research report.

Only Key Largo saw an increase in average daily rates, occupancy and revenue per available room.

Still, the Keys maintained the state’s highest average daily rate during that period at $315.

The report, which includes data from January through March, provides an in-depth look at the average daily rate and the overall occupancy of hotels and accommodations throughout the island chain comparing year-over-year growth.

It also includes revenue per available room, or RevPar, which is calculated by multiplying a hotel’s average daily room rate by its occupancy rate.

According to figures in the STR report, Key West accommodations, ranging from luxury to economy, have decreased overall in RevPar by 9 percent in the first quarter. While its occupancy numbers remained flat, the average daily rate has gone down by 8.5 percent, or almost $40, from $393 to $353.

Marathon’s lodgings saw an increase of 3 percent RevPar, with an increase in occupancy by 9.1 percent but a decrease in rates by almost $50 from $368 to $319.

Islamorada had an increase of 3.4 percent RevPar with a rise in occupancy at 4.3 percent while its average daily rate dropped just 0.8 percent, or $9, from $330 to $321.

Key Largo, meanwhile, had an increase of 6.4 percent RevPar from last year’s numbers. Occupancy was mostly flat, but the average daily rates increased by 8 percent, or about $22, from $279 to $301.

According to Kelli Fountain, TDC’s director of market research, Key Largo’s increase is due to the opening of the luxury hotel, Playa Largo Resort.

Fountain provided a synopsis of the data.

“Monroe County is up in occupancy but down in revenue per available room as a whole,” she said. “Bed-and-breakfasts are flat in occupancy but down in rates. Key Largo is up in occupancy and up in rates. Overall as a county, we are 1.8 percent up in occupancy but down 7.4 percent in rates in the month of March.”

The Smith report jibes with what local hoteliers are seeing.

“My figures compared to last year have been very steady,” said Deb Gillis, owner of Sunset Inn Resort in Islamorada. “Even though traffic does seem heavier, we are the same as last year. Everything is pretty much status quo.”

Doug Dale, general manager of Key Largo Resorts, said February occupancy was down but March and April were up.

“We seem to have more mid-week visitors this year,” he said. “There seems to be in increase in foreigners and that may have something to do with it.

“We are hoping for a good May,” he added.

Little Conch Key Resort General Manager Patty Halpner said, “We were pretty much flat. We are doing just about the same as last year. Slightly down, but not by much, flat really.”

According to the TDC, the tourism industry employs 54 percent of the Keys workforce. The estimated value of Monroe County’s tourism is $2.7 billion and 60 percent of spending in the county is attributed to tourism.


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