Correction: Article has been updated to reflect the correct percent change of the occupancy rate from 2011 to 2012.
Richmond hotel operators are getting a little more use out of their “no vacancy” signs.
Hotels in the Richmond region posted an occupancy rate of 57.6 percent in 2012, a 4.2 percent increase over 2011, according to data released last week by Smith Travel Research.And the area’s 215 hotels made more money per room, according to the data.
The average daily rate in 2012 among the region’s 22,000 rooms increased to $76.98 from $75.22 in 2011. Revenue per available room, an important figure in the hotel industry, increased by 6.6 percent in Richmond.
Jack Berry, president of the Richmond Metropolitan Convention and Visitors Bureau, said the numbers could indicate an increase in tourism.
“A lot of factors come into play here,” Berry said. “The sports market is growing exponentially, and conventions are bringing more people in. The popularity of the destination is stronger than it’s ever been.”
Berry said that events such the Virginia Museum of Fine Art’s Chihuly exhibit and Steven Spielberg filming “Lincoln” in the city contributed to the increase.
Business travel, however, hasn’t returned to pre-recession levels.
“That’s a national phenomenon dependant on the economy,” Berry said. “But more people are coming to town, and hotels are making more per room. It’s a great sign.”
The numbers at the downtown Hilton Garden Inn are consistent with the citywide trend, said general manager John Cario. Reservations at 250-room hotel in Miller & Rhoads building having been increasing since early 2011, Cario said.
“Our weekends have been pretty busy because of our location near the convention center and the downtown area,” Cario said. “On the average Saturday night, I’d say we have at least 90 percent of our rooms full.”