Scottsdale Tourism Experiences Unexpected March Rush

Published: Sunday, April 25, 2021 - 11:07am
Updated: Sunday, April 25, 2021 - 11:32am
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Scottsdale-area hotels and resorts reached a total of 75% occupancy in the last week of March, with some resorts reaching maximum occupancy for the first time in over a year.

Stephanie Pressler of Experience Scottsdale says the surge in bookings was unexpected, but welcomed by the struggling tourism industry.

“So the hotels were surprised by the sudden surge in demand. We think it was likely driven by the falling COVID cases, the rise in inoculations, and also the returning of our tourism-driving events like spring training and the Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction,” said Pressler. 

Hotels in Scottsdale saw less than 50% occupancy for the first two months of 2021. March’s rush helped recoup some of the $9 billion lost by Arizona tourism in 2020. 

Pressler says the sudden rush brought a sense of relief to local businesses, but recovery is still a ways away.

“There's really been that renewed optimism among our hospitality businesses that rely on tourists as well. But, we reached 65% occupancy for the entire month of March. In a normal year in March, we'd be closer to 90%,” said Pressler.

These numbers are already decreasing, however. Pressler says weekly occupancy rates in April have dropped down to about 60%, and the summer months are generally the slowest season for tourism.

She says that without international tourism, large business conferences and events, the tourism industry in Arizona cannot make its full recovery.

Scottsdale is expected to see 46% occupancy for the entirety of 2021, much lower than a normal year. 

Analysts don’t expect a full recovery until 2024 or 2025.

Business Tourism