Houston’s hotel market, which has suffered in recent years with the rise of Airbnb, is likely to plunge in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, a natural disaster that has dumped trillions of gallons of rain upon the city, resulting in deaths, evacuations of homes, and near total chaos.
Houston, which was already reeling from oil prices that have remained low in recent years, will likely suffer many significant economic setbacks while on its long road to recovery, among them a dip in the hotel sector. Houston, for those who don’t know, ranks as the fourth largest city in the United States.
As the storm has worsened, there have been some reports of hotels raising prices far above the normal rates to take advantage of the hordes of people leaving their homes for fear of coming flood waters. Hurricane Harvey, according to news reports, is the most powerful storm to hit Texas in more than 50 years, and as it has set in, there have been more than 400 complaints of price gouging lodged with the Texas attorney general’s office, with some reports saying there are cases of bottled water being sold for $99, gas at $10 a gallon and hotels that have tripled or quadrupled in price.
However, not all hotels and services are engaging in such behavior. In fact, the natural disaster has brought about many hotels offering discounts and even free places to stay to alleviate the housing emergency, and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has suspended the state and local hotel and motel occupancy tax for relief-effort personnel and storm victims. According to information that is available on the governor’s website, this suspension will be in effect for the next fourteen days.
Area hotels in Houston will likely be filled with first responders, members of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, insurance adjusters, and others who are dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. The city itself may also find a bit of a hotel shortage, depending on how many properties have been damaged by the event, the scope of which is not as of yet entirely clear. Industry experts believe that the long term impact on Houston’s hotel businesses will be negative. Although Hilton, the world’s second largest hotel operator, has said that none of its properties in the Houston area have suffered any significant physical damage, and that most of them are remaining open and operational, albeit with services that are more limited than usual.
Despite the setbacks in Houston, the US hospitality market in general had shown an impressive rate of growth as recently reported on TOPHOTELNEWS . More about hotel constructions in the USA can be found on the website of TOPHOTELPROJECTS, the specialized service provider in the exchange of cutting-edge information in the international hotel industry.