News in Numbers: Data Shows Total Eclipse will be a Stellar Hotel Demand Driver

As commercial teams in eclipse markets gear up for April 8, using data to maximize revenue, sales and marketing opportunities will truly help them shine.
News in Numbers: Data Shows Total Eclipse will be a Stellar Hotel Demand Driver

Revenue managers and sales and marketing teams in 15 U.S. states are in the middle of an exciting time – prepping for the April 8 total solar eclipse that is turning out to be a standout demand driver. 

The eclipse – which will cross Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, Tennessee and Michigan – is expected to drive an influx of spectators in need of overnight accommodations. A significant lift in hotel performance is expected, and STR recently analyzed next month’s eclipse against the last Total Eclipse in 2017. 

  • With a duration of totality almost double that of the eclipse in August 2017, the number of spectators looking to be a part of the experience is expected to increase. 
  • The eclipse will also reach larger hotel markets than 2017, which means more available rooms and more well-known destination offerings for travelers to potentially extend trips for the eclipse. 

According to forward-looking STR data from February, Dallas and Austin show the highest occupancy on the books for Sunday, April 7, the night prior to the eclipse. Following closely behind were Indianapolis, San Antonio and Toronto. 

Smaller markets like Cleveland and Niagara Falls should see larger one-day performance spikes due to lower supply and performance baselines, STR says. In Cleveland, where the Women’s NCAA Basketball Championship Game will take place the night of April 7 and the Cleveland Guardians’ home opener is scheduled for roughly two hours after the eclipse, most hotels are sold out.  

Totality Travel Analytics 

A Skift report citing FowardKeys data shows domestic flight bookings for totality cities have surged by 400% as compared to April 1-7, 2023. Little Rock, Arkansas is seeing the biggest boost, with a 423% jump. 

International bookings for “totality destinations” are up 133% from last year, the report says, drawing tourists to areas they otherwise would not have gone.  

“The people that are on the path to totality won a natural lottery,” Bram Gallagher, an economist for AirDNA, told Skift. 

Expedia said that, as of March 1, the North American destinations seeing the biggest year-over-year surges in hotel searches for the April event were Burlington, Vermont (+1,155%); Little Rock, Arkansas (+985%); and Dayton, Ohio (+705%). Over 50% of Austin’s hotels are booked for the night before the event, Skift says. 

Illuminate Decisions with Hotel Demand Data  

For hotels in the path of the eclipse, of course your historical data and forecast, available from revenue and business intelligence tools, should be guiding any decision-making as you prep for the big event. Some basics to keep in mind: 

  • Monitor pace and pickup regularly and aim to outpace 2017 eclipse numbers. 
  • Ensure you are booking the most profitable business by driving demand direct. 
  • Capitalize on any ancillary revenue opportunities from increased occupancy. 

As commercial teams in eclipse markets gear up for April 8, using data to maximize bookings and revenue opportunities will truly help you shine. 

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