Lodging

The Westin Verasa Napa.

J.L. Sousa, Register file photo

Napa County hotel and lodging properties lost a total of $17 million in revenue over the past several months as a result of the October wildfires, Visit Napa Valley reported.

For the calendar year 2017, hotel and lodging revenue in Napa County rose just .1 percent — from $396.1 million to $396.4 million.

Occupancy declined 1.9 percent, from 72.9 percent to 71.5 percent. The average daily room rate dipped just a few cents, from $310.92 a room to $310.25.

“The shortfalls in October and November are what made the calendar year flat for revenue,” said Catherine Heywood, director of operations and community relations for Visit Napa Valley.

Until that time, lodging revenue was ahead of the prior year by over 5 percent, she noted.

November lodging revenue was down 4.1 percent over last year, with occupancy was down 1.5 percent.

In December, the average daily room rate was down 3 percent year-over-year. However, occupancy was up 6.8 percent and revenue up 9.2 percent.

Some of the revenue loss can be attributed to rooms provided for fire evacuees and first responders for free or at a discount, Heywood said. The combined value of those rooms is estimated at $3.4 million, Visit Napa Valley reported.

The wildfires, which began Oct. 8, had their greatest impact on hotels in October when revenue in Napa County dropped a reported 36 percent, compared to the same month a year earlier.

The average daily room rate in October dipped 19 percent and occupancy sank 22 percent, according to data from STR.

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“Our numbers are definitely down in response to all this,” Cody McClain, manager of the Best Western Plus Stevenson Manor in Calistoga said in December. “We lost a lot of revenue in October,” especially during the five days the entire city was evaluated due to fire damage.

“Fortunately, Visit Napa Valley’s board of directors had the foresight to establish a reserve fund for just such an event,” Heywood said of the impacts of the fire disaster on the tourism industry.

The tourism agency was able to invest in marketing efforts that supported back-in-business messaging early in the recovery. Lodging properties did their best to leverage and support that messaging with aggressive social media outreach, she added.

Overall, “This community is strong and this industry is healthy. We are looking forward to a thriving 2018,” said Heywood.

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Business Editor

Jennifer Huffman is the business editor and a general assignment reporter for the Napa Valley Register. I cover a wide variety of topics for the newspaper. I've been with the Register since 2005.