Data from STR shows less demand from group, business and weekend travelers, and lower occupancy on Halloween over the years.
REPORT FROM THE U.S.—Over the last few years, Halloween has emerged as a major secular holiday. According to the National Retail Federation, spending on Halloween-related goods is expected to reach well over $8 billion this year.
Parents are staying home with their kids to enjoy trick or treating. They have much less desire to travel, which adversely affects hotel performance. STR’s data shows the decline of U.S. hotel occupancies on the holiday. (STR is the parent company of Hotel News Now.)
To understand how travel patterns on Halloween have shifted over the last few years, we examined the day of week performance for 31 October. We created a baseline by compiling the average of the other 51 weekdays for that year to understand what “normal” occupancy for the day of week looks like. We then compared that to the occupancy of the day of week falling on 31 October.
In 2013, Halloween fell on a Thursday, and nationwide occupancy was 50.5%. The average occupancy for all Thursdays in 2013 was 62.8%, so the point difference was -12.3%. The chart below shows the percentage point difference by year for Halloween evening when compared to the average of the same day of week.
The data clearly shows that Halloween has an impact on travel patterns. Below is the raw data showing the actual occupancy for the day of Halloween and the average performance for the same day for the year.
As meeting planners adjust to the reality that parents want to stay home on this night, they have moved groups away from the date. Group demand has been severely curtailed as the following chart shows. Again, we calculated the average group room demand on an average night for the same day of week and contrasted it with group demand for 31 October. The following chart shows the percent difference for group demand between Halloween and the average day of week.
Double-digit demand declines are the norm, as the raw data table shows.
The takeaway for hoteliers: Halloween is more and more a holiday that keeps group and business travelers off the road. Weekend demand also seems to be impacted. But unlike another family holiday, such as Thanksgiving, there is probably little incentive to travel just for that night to be with family; hence, there is probably not a mitigating factor for declining demand. We will monitor the performance going forward to see if and how this trend continues and influences hotel performance.
This article represents an interpretation of data collected by STR, parent company of HNN. Please feel free to comment or contact an editor with any questions or concerns.