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Hampton Roads Hotel Industry Continues to Outpace Virginia, Nation in Pandemic Recovery

Hotels and motels line Capitol Landing Road in the city. (Andrew Harris/WYDaily)
Hotels and motels line Capitol Landing Road in the city. (Andrew Harris/WYDaily)

NORFOLK — Newly released data show that hotel revenues in Hampton Roads through November 2023 are 22.3% higher than those observed through November 2019, but while Hampton Roads has more than fully recovered from the pandemic, the slowest growth in revenue in the region was in the Williamsburg market.

The data comes from STR, a global firm that provides insights into the hospitality industry, and subject to analysis by The Dragas Center for Economic Analysis and Policy in the Strome College of Business at Old Dominion University.

That data revealed hotel revenues for the commonwealth through November are only 12.7% higher than the levels observed in 2019, however, the Hampton Roads region continues to outpace both Virginia and the nation.

The state’s three largest markets — Northern Virginia, Hampton Roads and Richmond — generated about 77% of the commonwealth’s hotel revenue in 2019, according to the Dragas Center. But Northern Virginia continues to lag pre-pandemic levels, it said, as hotel revenue in Northern Virginia through November was 2.5% lower compared to 2019.

Thus, according to the Dragas Center, the Northern Virginia market, which accounted for 43% of the revenue generated in the commonwealth in 2019, is “essentially” responsible for Virginia’s lackluster performance through November 2023.

Rooms sold through November compared to 2019 decreased by 10.6% in Northern Virginia, by 8.0% in the Roanoke market, and by 5.5% in the Virginia portion of the Bristol/Kingsport market, it said. But while the Norfolk/Portsmouth, Virginia Beach and Chesapeake/Suffolk markets fared better than other submarkets in Hampton Roads, the Williamsburg and Newport News/Hampton regional submarkets saw a decline — rooms sold were down by 4.3% and 2.7%, respectively, through November.

Similarly, within Hampton Roads, Virginia Beach saw its revenue increase the most — 28.8% through November 2023 compared to 2019 — followed closely by the Chesapeake/Suffolk and Norfolk/Portsmouth markets. The slowest growth was observed for the Williamsburg market, at 8.5%.

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