Warwick hotel occupancy soars to 82.4%
By JOHN HOWELL
Warwick’s 16 hotels with a total of 2,160 rooms recorded some of the best occupancy and average room rates in years, a …
Warwick’s 16 hotels with a total of 2,160 rooms recorded some of the best occupancy and average room rates in years, a development that has Kristen Adamo predicting the city “is poised to be breaking out in terms of tourism.”
Adamo, President and CEO of the Providence Warwick Visitors Convention Bureau, reported Monday an 82.4 percent Warwick hotel occupancy rate for the month of July and an average room rate of $153.84, the highest rate of any time in her recollection. June occupancy and average daily rates likewise tracked high – indicating a rebound from the pandemic and the precipitous decline in economic activity across the country.
“This is good news,” said Adamo recalling the days when businesses were closing and hotels were forced to cut staff. She credited legislative leaders for stepping in with programs and funding that helped keep the hospitality industry alive.
“State Commerce and Joe (Shekarchi) really believed in us,” she said. “Warwick just didn’t recover, it’s thriving.”
And where are the visitors coming from, and what are they doing when they get to Warwick?
Adamo said the Crowne Plaza has become “a mini convention center” booking events that have found Warwick rates more affordable than Newport, Providence and Boston. She said the city has become a “hot bed” for military reunions. As an example she cited “ship reunions” where sailors who served on a particular vessel come together. She said 15 military reunions have been booked for this year and beyond that will result in 3,428 total room nights and 1,710 attendees with a combined direct spend for those reunions of $1,414,845.
Sporting events are also big attractions with regional adult and youth league championships. Adamo said many Warwick hotels are well suited for these groups with “double-doubles” that help cut costs to the visitor. She also cites location with the city being in close driving distance to Newport and venues north. The fact that Warwick is within a couple of hours drive – the “drive market” as it is termed – also plays well to regional sporting events. It makes the trip affordable and faster than having to catch a flight.
Adamo said the bureau brought in $9 million of business to Warwick during the months of June and July and so far this month. She said this amounted to 21,645 visitors and 14,000 hotel room nights, which doesn’t account for leisure travel.
“That’s what we book and track,” she said.
Elizabeth Dunton, Warwick director of tourism who works in concert with the PWVCB, is looking to bring in the leisure traveler. She said a 15 second video highlighting the city’s 39 miles of shoreline including its parks and marinas has been especially successful in attracting New Yorkers. The video is aired on social media platforms targeted to New York as well as Connecticut, New Jersey and Boston residents.
“It seems the people in New York are really paying attention to us,” she said. Dunton said she has a $250,000 budget basically funded with American Rescue Plan Act funds and other grants to promote the city.
“I think people are done with Covid,” Dunton said explaining a pent up demand to get out and travel.
With the increase in visitors, Adamo has also seen the bureau recover. In the depths of the pandemic, the bureau cut staff to seven. It is now up to 23. Adamo is excited by the Breeze Airways announcement that the Rhode Island International Green Airport will serve as a base of operations and what that will mean in additional flights. Non stop flights to Los Angeles starting next year she sees as extending the city’s reach for conventions.
As for what the city could do to attract more groups, Adamo said they could use additional hardwood courts for cheerleading, volleyball and other games. She suggested a warehouse-like facility with multiple courts. She sees Mayor Frank Picozzi’s plan for an outdoor skating rink as another selling point for Warwick.
Adamo said The Great Race that started at Rocky Point and over nine days had more than 160 cars driving to Fargo, ND, was a big boost for the state and the city. Warwick was selected as the best of the overnight stays of the nine-day race.
“That was a great feather in our cap. I would like to see more of that,” she said.
Looking ahead, she said the Army/Navy game to be played next year at Gillette Stadium will be a big draw for Warwick hotels as will be March Madness in 2025 and the World Soccer Cup in 2026.
Hotel numbers as provided by Smith Travel Research:
June 2022 76.7
June 2021 68.6
June 2020 53
June 2019 73.5
July 2022 82.4
July 2021 78.4
July 2020 49.5
July 2019 74
Average Daily Rate (ADR)
June 2022 140.05
June 2021 115.12
June 2020 90.22
June 2019 115.71
July 2022 153.84
July 2021 131.91
July 2020 105.09
July 2019 116.87
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