San Diego County

San Diego Hotels Struggle to Fill Rooms

San Diego hotels are reporting that their occupancy is at less than 20% of what they would be at this time of the year

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Mayor Kevin Faulconer has estimated that the city of San Diego could lose more than $250 million, much of that from hotel tax revenue during the pandemic. With airports across the country at a virtual standstill, businesses that rely on tourism are struggling.

The Surfhouse Boutique Hotel in Encinitas had to close its doors for six weeks after several of their guests called to cancel their reservations because of the pandemic. They just reopened on May 1, but they are only at 8% occupancy so far for May. Nikolas Harth, one of the owners, says he wants guests to come to his hotel, but he wants to make sure that people understand the county's public health order too.

"We want to make sure we're keeping our community safe and not bringing in people from all over the state that want to come and have a beach weekend that could possibly ruin our beach access," he said.

The Lafayette Hotel in North Park is about 20% occupancy. They have cut their room rates in half to about $110 per night. They say many guests they're seeing are San Diegans looking to get out of their houses and find a quiet place to work and to enjoy their pool.

"We furloughed a lot of our employees. We tried to figure out should we stay open, or should we close like so many other hotels?" said Dieter Hissin, general manager of the Lafayette Hotel.

Both the Lafayette Hotel and the Surfhouse Hotel received Payroll Protection Program loans from the Small Business Administration that has helped keep many of their employees working.

California's Tourism Board said that regional travel by car is popular in the state, so they anticipate that when the economy starts gradually opening up, occupancy will still be below a typical year's average but higher than what it is right now.

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