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April occupancy rates in San Diego County hotels dropped slightly from 71.1% in April of last year to 71% the same month this year. However, average daily room rate rose from $126.42 to $131.19, according to Smith Travel Research. For the year to date through April, occupancy inched up to 68.4% from from 68.2% in the same period last year. Hotel expert Jerry Morrison notes that San Diego still compares poorly with 2007, which was not in recession until late in the year. Occupancy year to date through April was 71.1% in 2007 versus this year's 68.4%. "San Diego finally received its funds for the Tourism Marketing District and has begun a new campaign. However, it will be playing catch-up with other California destinations" in transient business, says Morrison. Examples: San Francisco's occupancy rate in April rose from 78.1% last year to 85.9% this April. Year to date, occupancy rose from 73.7% through April last year to 76.8%

But there is a bright side. Erik Bruvold of the National University System Institute for Policy Research says 21 million visits will be made to San Diego County beaches this summer, and $450 million will be spent by beachgoers. One-third of hotel stays in the county occur between Memorial Day and Labor Day, says Bruvold.

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Visduh May 23, 2013 @ 9:52 p.m.

The feud between the mayor and TMD must be the reason. It has to be. There's no other factor to blame. Too high rates for old, worn out rooms in motels that saw their better days in the 70's, overpriced ho-hum restaurants that cater to tourists, attractions that charge too much for too little and that sort of thing have nothing to do with it. People would come here if there were no marketing at all. But the city is getting a tarnished reputation that it deserves, and some turnaround will be necessary. After all these years of overemphasis on tourism as the economic pillar of the city, this is all ironic.


Don Bauder May 24, 2013 @ 7:28 a.m.

Visduh: That feud will get all the blame when, as you point out, there are multiple factors in San Diego's weak performance. Best, Don Bauder


HonestGovernment May 24, 2013 @ 9:02 a.m.

Further irony: today the SD Daily Transcript reports "If you're looking to stay in one of the Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego's 1,600 hotel rooms on Friday night, you're out of luck — the waterfront hotel is booked solid."

The article's emphasis is on Memorial Day weekend - the military presence in San Diego provides more incentive than do full-page ads in Sunset Magazine or TV commercials in Phoenix: "San Diego is the No. 1 destination for Southern California travelers this weekend, according to a survey of AAA Travel agents. About 2.53 million Southern Californians are projected to take holiday trips this weekend, said AAA, a slight 2.1-percent drop from last year. If last year is any indication, San Diego's hotels will be packed this holiday weekend."

Last year's stats: "hotel occupancy on the Friday of Memorial Day weekend was 80.8 percent across the county; Saturday was 97.3 percent; and Sunday was 87.9 percent, according to Darren Pudgil, [then] a spokesman for the San Diego Tourism Authority."


Don Bauder May 24, 2013 @ 12:34 p.m.

HonestGovernment: If advertising kicked in too late for Memorial Day weekend, it may not have done any good anyway. Best, Don Bauder


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