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Charlotte hotel occupancy rate jumps

Charlotte’s hotel occupancy rate was 57.7 percent in September, up from 51.2 percent in September 2009, the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority said today.

September marked the ninth consecutive month in which the rate rose.

Year-to-date occupancy is 58.2 percent, up 12 percent from the same period last year.

Year-to-date occupancy for the U.S. is 58.9 percent, an increase of 5.2 percent, and 54.6 percent for North Carolina, an increase of 6.5 percent.

Mike Applegate, CRVA’s director of research, said transient business and corporate travel, which have been picking up as the economy improves, are driving the increases in hotel demand and occupancy.

Leisure travel has also improved, Applegate said, adding that that the NASCAR Hall of Fame has been a big draw. CRVA research shows that 60 percent of visitors to the hall of fame say visiting the attraction was the primary purpose of their trip to Charlotte and 85 percent of attendees said they’ve come from greater than 50 miles away to see the hall, he said.

“This helps to drive hotel rooms,” he said.

Applegate said the size of groups using hotels has increased nearly 30 percent through the first nine months of this year compared with the same period last year.

Hotels guests are also paying more for their rooms, according to the CRVA.  The Charlotte-area average daily rate rose 3.6 percent in September to $80.16, making it the third consecutive month to see an increase. Charlotte’s year-to-date rate is $78.56, down 1.9 percent from the same period last year. The U.S. year-to-date rate is $97.89, down 0.7 percent, and $79.48 for North Carolina, a decline of 1.4 percent.

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