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Confirmed cases are trending down and recovery efforts are in full swing. Hotels across the nation are focusing on their opening strategies as the heat turns up on government officials. While the country is not out of the weeds, a path to normalcy is starting to form. This week, we turn our focus to New York City and the Midwest Region of the United States.
Coronavirus was quick to multiply in an area as saturated as New York City. The state's cumulative cases had a quick rise to the top and have stayed ever since. While the volume of cases remains high in the state, there have been encouraging signs over the last two weeks. The curve has flattened. A rolling average shows that the number of daily cases are decreasing by as much as 17% and the peak is in the rearview mirror.
A dip in COVID-19 cases is certainly cause for celebration. This knowledge can be combined with market demand factors in order to solidify a proper recovery strategy. Right now, the demand for NYC hotels remains low as, STR recently explained, the city saw an occupancy rate of 24.8% last week. This did show an increase from the previous week, but some of that can be attributed to healthcare workers and first responders that are required to stay in the area.One of the metrics we're keeping an eye on is the conversion rate for properties in the area. While the volume of bookings are understandably low, any sustained increase in conversion rate can suggest the demand starting to shift. Our data shows a few properties in the area hovering around a 2.5% conversion rate for the last two weeks, which is down roughly 10% from the previous week. Piecing together these different signals indicate users aren't quite ready to book hotels in the area. However, this doesn't mean they've quit shopping.At Screen Pilot, we're measuring the user shopping behavior for different regions of the country. As you will find later, we take a deep dive into the Midwest Region to identify patterns in user intent. For now, we want to highlight the fact that people are still looking to come to the area. The Northeast region has seen tens of thousands of people interested in visiting sometime in the near future. Our data recommends the summer months as a popular time that users are looking to get back to the Northeast. This graph shows which months are receiving the most interest:
New York may take the longest to heal in terms of getting things back to "normal." The sheer volume of cases in the city suggests a slower recovery process. Yet, the cases have started to dip and that is the first and most important step. Analysis of booking data indicates users are still timid about coming to the area, but we are seeing shopping behavior that shows encouraging signs for the months to come.
The Midwest has been hit pretty hard by COVID-19, especially in places like Michigan and Illinois. These states appear to be on the mend as the number of daily cases continue to drop. On our end, we're seeing thousands of individuals shopping for travel to the area. While the number of bookings are lower than usual, our data shows the demand for travel to the Midwest is alive and well.We are keeping tabs on exactly when users are looking to travel again as we measure all booking engine activity. By extracting data from hotel booking engines, we can determine the most popular months for prospective travelers and get a sense of their time frame.If you're located outside of the Midwest, check out your region here.Shopping Window by MonthAs it stands, hotels may feel in the dark in terms of when people are looking to travel again. Knowing the months that are important to prospective travelers will help hotels prepare to meet their needs, while still adhering to local guidelines. In the Midwest, the summer months are seeing quite a bit of activity as August sits just behind May for future travel. June and July help round out the top five as they both hover around 12-15% of the market share.
Shopping Window Time frameUsers hoping to travel to the Midwest are searching well in advance of their planned arrival. The graph above showed June, July and August as extremely popular options for upcoming travel. This aligns with the shopping windows that inform us almost 60% of individuals are hoping to travel 90+ days out. This implies a sense of caution that hopefully things have died down by then. Hotels in the region can look to prepare for the summer months accordingly, as long as coronavirus cases continue to decline and tests become more available.