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Ocean City

August Smith Travel statistics show recovery

(Oct. 4, 2013) Despite sluggish starts up and down the East Coast, beach resorts including Ocean City seem to have recovered some of their losses in the last month of the summer season

Data for August shows Ocean City’s room occupancy up 0.9 percent from August of 2012, and its revenue per available room, occupied or not, up 3.7 percent for this August over last year.

Year-to-date, however, occupancy is down 2 percent over the same span last year, but revenue per available room is up 0.4 percent

That data comes from a monthly report by Smith Travel Research, which aggregates booking information from partnered hotels, typically large franchise chains.

“At our last board meeting, I was definitely the consensus that our season started out really slow and rebounded by August,” said Susan Jones, Executive Director of the Ocean City Hotel-Motel-Restaurant Association.

In June of this year, the resort’s occupancy was down 3 percent, and revenue per available room was down 1.8 percent.

Compared to New Jersey, however, Maryland was relatively unscathed by June’s decline, which was blamed largely on bad weather. While Hurricane Sandy reduced the amount of available lodging in many areas, revenue per available room – a statistic theoretically immune to housing loss – declined over 26 percent for Atlantic City.

The only areas to make early-season gains were in the Carolinas, where Smith Travel’s Coastal Carolina subset gained 7.4 percent in per-room revenue over June 2012.

This disparity had clearly leveled out by August, although Myrtle Beach, specifically, saw a strong gain of 5.6 percent occupancy and 11.5 percent in revenue per room over August 2012.

Most impressive, however were August gains at the Delaware Beaches subset, with 6.3 percent occupancy and 13.5 percent in revenue per room gained over August of last year.

Per-room rates also continued to rise in Ocean City and what Smith Travel considers to be its competitor markets. The average cost of a room in Ocean City increased 2.7 percent over August of 2012. Still, the resort’s average rate of $217.49 was considerably higher than the next highest in the competitor set, which was Virginia Beach at $169.84.

If narrowed down to weekends – meaning Friday and Saturday – the average Ocean City room rate rose to $237.73.

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