Jul 14, 2022 - Business

Twin Cities hotels see COVID-era rebound

Twin Cities hotel room occupancy rates in June
Data: STR; Chart: Baidi Wang/Axios

Two-thirds of hotel rooms in the Twin Cities were booked in June 2022, a significant rebound from the past couple years, but still below 2019 levels.

Why it matters: The local hotel industry was battered during the pandemic and the Twin Cities has been one of the slowest metros to recover.

What's happening: Hotel occupancy reached 68.2% in June, according to preliminary numbers from STR, a hotel market data firm.

Between the lines: Local sports teams are winning and drawing fans, theater and concert schedules are packed and events like Twin Cities Pride and a recent fencing tournament have brought people to town.

Yes, but: Hotel occupancies remain well below the pre-pandemic levels and recovery has been uneven, with Minneapolis at 61% occupancy, while St. Paul is at nearly 70% and Bloomington is even higher.

What they're saying: Nick Peterson, owner of downtown Minneapolis' Rand Tower Hotel, said local hotels have been discounting their prices to attract guests.

  • "We're not probably at the rate that we could be, but they're not as heavily discounted as they as they were in 2020 and 2021," he said.

Rand Tower Hotel is using its restaurants to help lure people. It tapped star chef Daniel del Prado (Colita and Martina) to makeover its restaurants, one of which already reopened and two more will later this month.

  • A few blocks away, the Four Seasons opened its new restaurant, Mara, by another big name chef, Gavin Kaysen.
  • "We need different experiences for people to come back to Minneapolis and create the habit of coming back into Minneapolis," Peterson said.

What's ahead: Hotel owners are optimistic that business travel will continue to rebound. St. Paul Hotel is seeing strong business travel bookings — which drive weekday bookings — for September and October.

  • "We are seeing an increase in weekday occupancy so ... to me is a light at the end of the tunnel," said Leslie Ingiald, director of sales and catering for the St. Paul Hotel.
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