Back-to-school Season to Greatly Impact Hotel Performance

After a year of shifts toward e-learning throughout the U.S., STR’s annual School Break Report shows less scheduled remote coursework on the academic calendar for the upcoming year.

The report summarizes vacation break dates in 2021-22 for a robust sample of U.S. public K-12 school districts, colleges and universities. The pandemic has affected the approach to academic scheduling for both K-12 school and universities, and STR implemented extra measures to ensure the accuracy of 2021-22 calendar dates with additional information included regarding e-learning (remote) scheduling.

“As we saw this past year during spring break and the summer, school breaks can greatly impact hotel performance,” said Brannan Doyle, research analyst at STR. “With more than half of K-12 and college students returning to school by August 23, we can anticipate lower hotel performance towards the end of the month due to the lessened demand from family vacations, mixed with the continued lack of business travel. Hoteliers can use the School Break Report to anticipate higher demand from those long weekends and breaks, as weekend leisure trips have been especially popular throughout the pandemic.”

With public K-12 school district calendars, several shifts to the upcoming school year were notable. A later Easter holiday in 2022 will affect K-12 spring breaks, which were pushed from the first week of April in 2021 to the third week of April 2022. The Easter shift had little impact on college and university spring breaks. Consistent with a trend seen last year, a significantly higher proportion of students are receiving a long weekend for Presidents’ Day in February 2022 compared with February 2021, which was also higher than the year prior.

“The spread of the delta variant, surge in case numbers and some areas implementing restrictions once again will likely put a pause on the increased business demand we expected to see in the fall,” Doyle said. “Hoteliers understand that school breaks and family trips are going to make up a large portion of market demand until business travel, conventions and conferences return. The School Break Report is the source to anticipate that demand.”

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