Visit Orlando joins our industry in congratulating President Biden and Vice President Harris on their inauguration. Together, we stand ready to support the new administration in safely rebuilding the travel industry and the millions of jobs we support. We are already encouraged by the early actions of the administration, as shared in this industry article, How will the incoming Biden administration affect the travel industry?
Excitement also is building here at Visit Orlando, as our new president and CEO, Casandra Matej (above), is set to join us Feb. 1. Her leadership will help our industry navigate the challenges and opportunities of the days ahead, and she is eager to begin engaging with our community. For a sneak peak at her perspective, check out her recent Q&A's on Orlando and the industry in MPI's The Meeting Professional and PCMA Convene.
Riding a Wave of Safe Meetings
Last year, Orlando pioneered the return of safe events — and that momentum has carried into 2021 with Surf Expo, our destination's largest meeting since the start of the pandemic. Visit Orlando and the Orange County Convention Center once again teamed up to create an engaging, in-person experience that included vigilant health and safety precautions for both vendors and attendees. See how we did it in this video.
Reaching Meeting Planners Virtually
To promote Orlando's capacity for safe meetings and events, Visit Orlando is hosting a Virtual FAM Jan. 26-28 for over 500 meeting and convention planners. Topics will include what's new across our destination, live updates from hotel partners, on-demand updates from off-site venues and theme parks and more. Interested in attending? Sign up now; registration ends today.
2020 Annual Lodging Impact
While it's no surprise that 2020 was the most challenging time in our destination's history, our newest data illustrates the overall impact on lodging for the year as a whole. A few key metrics are below, as we all gladly turn the page to 2021.
» Our region's overall occupancy rate for the year averaged just 41.5% (down from 76.2% the prior year).
» Demand for the year totaled 15.3 million occupied room nights (down 55.7% from the prior year).
» Average daily rate for the year ended up at $109.74 (down 13.4% from prior year).
» Ending on a positive note: We did end the year with a bright spot, as December saw both the highest monthly occupancy (40.4%) and average daily rate ($96.78) in any month since the start of the pandemic.
» Looking ahead: While we expect overall travel levels to remain depressed for the next few months, Visit Orlando is actively marketing and selling the destination to key markets and audiences that are most likely to travel, to help boost recovery. We do expect travel levels to accelerate during the second half of the year, assuming vaccine production and distribution ramps up successfully in the second quarter.
Latest Weekly Lodging Numbers
Metro Orlando's occupancy rate for the week ending Jan. 16 was 34.2%, essentially unchanged from 34.4% the previous week. Average daily rate fell $1.27 to $82.08.
COVID-19 Travel Industry Relief
Help is available for Orlando's small businesses struggling during the pandemic, as the U.S. Department of the Treasury and U.S. Small Business Administration recently began accepting applications for the Paycheck Protection Program. The official government website is here: Paycheck Protection Program. The deadline to apply is March 31.
As part of our involvement with the U.S. Travel Association, we also invite you to read this new PPP fact sheet for detailed explanations on what the new updates mean for industry businesses.