Hotel occupancy is up, and so are overnight rates, in downtown Cleveland and across the region

Published by: Glaser
Published date: January 2024

CLEVELAND, Ohio – Cleveland-area hotels have almost fully recovered from the pandemic, at least by one important metric – the percentage of rooms that are filled on an average day.

Hotel occupancy rates in Greater Cleveland averaged 60.5% in 2023 – nearly identical to the 60.7% rate in 2019, the year before the COVID pandemic brought travel to a near-standstill worldwide.

The cost of staying at a hotel in Northeast Ohio is up, as well, with rates reaching an average of nearly $185 per night in downtown Cleveland in 2023 – up 19% over 2019 prices, according to figures from CoStar, a global real estate data firm.

Cleveland’s hotel recovery appears to be outpacing improvement elsewhere in Ohio and across the nation.

The hotel occupancy rate in Ohio for 2023 was 58.3%, still below 60.6% from 2019; nationwide, occupancy was 63% in 2023, down from 66.4% before the pandemic.

And this year is likely to be even better for local hoteliers, thanks to a series of special events in the region, from the NCAA Women’s Final Four college basketball tournament and the total solar eclipse in early April to the Pan-American Masters Games in July and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony next fall.

“It’s shaping up to be a great year for Cleveland tourism,” said Emily Lauer, vice president of public relations and communications for Destination Cleveland.

Cleveland’s hotel recovery, however, comes with a caveat: The number of hotel rooms in Greater Cleveland has decreased in recent years, as several hotels have closed.

The total inventory of rooms in Greater Cleveland dropped 8% from 2019 to 2023, due to the closure of numerous properties, including the Sheraton Cleveland Airport Hotel, on the grounds of Cleveland Hopkins International Airport, which is slated to be turned into airport parking; and the DoubleTree by Hilton in Beachwood, which is being converted into a mixed residential-office development.

Hospitality consultant David Sangree said the Cleveland market can probably absorb additional hotels, even as the industry continues to recover from the pandemic slowdown.

“We have lost quite a few rooms without gaining very many,” said Sangree, president of Hotel & Leisure Advisors in Cleveland. “It certainly raises opportunity for some new development projects.”

New hotels in the pipeline include several properties downtown, including a new boutique property, the Fidelity, on E. 6th Street and a W Hotel in the Tower at Erieview.

Sangree credited the uptick in hotel occupancy in Cleveland and across the country to an ongoing increase in business travel.

Leisure travel rebounded quickly after the pandemic slowdown, he noted, while business travel was slower to recover.

“Business travelers are traveling again,” said Sangree.

Sangree added that the opening later this year of an addition to the Huntington Convention Center of Cleveland should lead to more conventions and conference in the city, which should also improve hotel occupancy throughout the region.

Hotel occupancy in Ohio in 2023

Cleveland, 60.5%

Cincinnati, 60.5%

Columbus, 59.1%

Statewide, 58.3%

How much an average hotel room costs

Downtown Cleveland, $184.66

Cleveland region, $126.71

Ohio, $117.61

United States, $155.62

New York City, $301.22

Major markets with the highest hotel occupancy in the U.S. in 2023

New York City, 81.6%

Honolulu, Hawaii, 79.6%

Las Vegas, 77.9%

San Diego, 73.5%

Orlando, 72.7%

Boston, 72.2%

Miami, 71.9%

Los Angeles, 71.7%

Orange County, California, 71.6%

Source: CoStar; figures are for 2023. Note: CoStar includes six Northeast Ohio counties in the Cleveland market: Cuyahoga, Lake, Ashtabula, Geauga, Lorain and Medina.