Nashville hotel occupancy rates close to pre-pandemic levels


NASHVILLE, Tennessee (WKRN) – Events and tourism are picking up in Music City, so what does this mean for one of the city’s biggest industries, hospitality?

According to data from STR (Smith Travel Research), occupancy rates are approaching the city’s record numbers in 2019.

Here are some comparisons based on certain months of the year:


  • 2019: 76.8%
  • 2020: 39.3%
  • 2021: 65.5%



Chelsea McCready, senior director of hospitality market analysis at CoStar Group, said this was a trend happening across the country.

“We saw some mildness in August and September which is typical, but a little more than we expected because of the Delta variant,” she said. “Hotel room rates have actually exceeded pre-pandemic levels for the past three months. This is mainly due to weekends and vacationers.

Another factor in the results is the “construction boom”. At every turn, a new hotel springs up in Music City. STR says about 10% of the existing bedroom inventory in Nashville is currently under construction.

“Nashville has been near or at the top of the supply growth list for several years now and it continues,” said McCready. “We expect to see the most rooms open this year in the city’s history.”

However, Nashville still lags behind national recovery trends due to its reliance on conventions and conferences.

“Whether the meeting planner wants to run the conference, or just make it a virtual conference again, it depends on whether attendees feel safe enough to travel to Nashville or any other market to attend,” said McCready. “Most conferences get about half of their typical attendance for all meetings, so in the short term we focus a lot on that group segment. “

Markets that have recovered well are mostly along the coast or with fewer COVID-19 restrictions, including Norfolk, Virginia Beach, Myrtle Beach, Miami and Tampa.

Before the pandemic, 40% of the demand for rooms in Nashville came from conventions, conferences, weddings and tours.

“It’s probably going to take until 2024 before it fully reverts to 2019,” McCready said. “2019 was a banner year for Nashville and a banner year for the entire country. This is the case with most of the country’s major markets.

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