Three of the top five months in occupancy tax collections have occurred in 2021, reaching a historic high in July, with June close behind at second-highest. A breakdown by lodging type reveals what has been evident throughout the pandemic: vacation rentals continue to be a popular choice for visitors, boosting tax collections and providing incremental income to local residents with vacation properties. This seems to demonstrate that guests in our community throughout the summer were not trading off vacation rentals for hotel stays, because vacation rental sales continued to climb while hotel stays were rebounding.
OCCUPANCY TAX COLLECTION: TOP 5 MONTHS
|Positive trend for lodging partners means more business for other sectors as community recovers
This positive trend for lodging partners translates to more customers for other business sectors like outdoor outfitters and guides, retail and artist shops, restaurants, breweries and more. Although the occupancy tax shoulders 100% of the destination marketing investment for Asheville and Buncombe County, lodging partners garner just over a quarter of the visitor spending at 27%, while other local businesses reap the lion's share of visitor spending rewards at 73%. Asheville’s circular economy ensures these visitor dollars stay in the community longer; for example, local restaurants are dedicated to supporting local farmers and purveyors through buying and serving local products.
DISTRIBUTION OF VISITOR SPENDING
|Hotel occupancy slips in August; both hotels and vacation rentals are at 73%
After July 2021 hotel occupancy returned to on-par with the benchmark year of 2019, hotel occupancy for the month of August 2021 slipped to 73%, down 6% from August 2019 levels. Short-term vacation rentals reached 73% this August, up 20% from the benchmark year of 2019, but off four percentage points from 2020.
This is a good example of the kind of balanced recovery we are seeking going forward as part of our strategic imperative to Deliver Balanced Recovery & Sustainable Growth, resulting in opportunities for more in our community to win.
AUGUST 2021 LODGING OCCUPANCY