November was a very tough month for the hotel business, according to Smith Travel Research, which tracks these kinds of things.
Occupancy rates dropped from November 2007 in all of the top 25 markets except one -- Houston.
Houston's occupancy rate climbed 11 percent over the previous November to a rate of 70 percent. Compare that to St. Louis, which had an occupancy rate of just 50 percent.
So it seems the rest of the nation -- and the world!! -- has finally discovered the magic of Houston in November. Tourists flocked to Discovery Green, to TSU football games, to our dazzling restaurants.
Or maybe people just came to help clean up after Ike.
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"In the weeks after Hurricane Ike made landfall on 13 September and devastated Galveston, Baytown and other coastal cities in Texas, inland Houston received a boon in occupancy from displaced residents, first responders and insurance agents that insulated the market from the lagging average-daily-rate growth and revenue-per-available-room growth throughout the rest of the country," the firm reported in analyzing the October 2008 numbers
Those October numbers showed an 84 percent occupancy rate, so November's 70 percent is going in the wrong direction.
Quick -- get us another hurricane!
-- Richard Connelly