Cleveland hotel occupancy falls in 2016, despite RNC, due to hotel building boom

H&LA’s Vice President, Laurel Keller, gives insight to The Plain Dealer regarding the occupancy slip for Cleveland hotels in 2016.

Published by: Susan Glasser/The Plain Dealer
Published date: January, 2017

Hotel occupancy in Cleveland decreased by nearly 2 percentage points in 2016, the result of a large increase in hotel room inventory, particularly downtown.

The drop came despite several high-profile events in the city that filled up hotel rooms for days at a time, including the Republican National Convention, the Cavs championship run and the Indians’ World Series bid.


The drop was not unexpected, given the hotel building boom in the region over the past couple of years.

“The big question is: Have we overbuilt?” asked Laurel Keller, vice president at Hotel and Leisure Advisors, a hospitality consulting firm. Short term, the answer is probably yes; longer term, the answer isn’t yet known.

It depends entirely on whether Cleveland can build on its momentum and fill up these new hotels going forward, she said.

Downtown, especially, saw the completion of a flurry of new properties in advance of the RNC, including the sleek, taxpayer-financed, 600-room Hilton Cleveland Downtown, which opened in June adjacent to the new Huntington Convention Center of Cleveland.

This building boom, which also included the addition of the 128-room Kimpton Schofield and 189-room Drury Plaza Hotel Cleveland, had another effect on the hotel market in Cleveland last year: It boosted prices.

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