Omni San Diego Hotel near Petco Park
Omni San Diego Hotel near Petco Park. Photo via

San Diego hotels will continue a slow recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. At the same time, local and national industry’s performance is expected to surpass pre-pandemic levels, according to the 2023 State of the Hotel Industry Report released Monday by the American Hotel & Lodging Association.

The forecast offered many reasons to be optimistic with increases predicted in room revenue and occupancy compared to 2019. Yet, it was clear-eyed about the challenges the industry faces with inflation, supply chain disruptions, and staffing shortages.

“2023 will be our industry’s first step on the long road to recovery,” said Fred Tayco, executive director of the San Diego County Lodging Association. “San Diego’s leisure travel sector has been crucial to our local success, but we still have a long way to go to bring back business and conference travel to what it once was.”

Despite ongoing challenges, San Diego’s recovery, in particular, has been strong compared to other major markets in the United States. San Diego was the fourth fastest recovery of any major market in the United States in terms of gross operating profit per available room, which is expected to increase above pre-pandemic levels.

AHLA’s semi-annual update projects that U.S. hotels will:

  • Employ 2.09 million people in 2023, down from the 2.35 million people employed in 2019
  • Generate $46.71 billion in state and local tax revenue in 2023, up from $41.11 billion in 2019
  • Increase room revenue to a projected $197.48 billion compared to $170.35 billion in 2019
  • Raise occupancy to 1.3 billion room nights compared to 1.29 billion in 2019, up 56.9 percent from the 2020 low of 318.64 million

The San Diego County Lodging Association represents San Diego’s more than 560 hotels, motels, and boutique inns that employ more than 26,900.