Vancouver hotel occupancy, room rates top Canadian cities in May

Vancouver hotel occupancy, room rates top Canadian cities in May

Metro Vancouver hotels in May had the highest occupancy rate among large Canadian metropolises, at 83.9 per cent, with hoteliers in the region able to charge the highest average daily room rate in Canada: $317.41.

The city's hotel occupancy rate in May was also higher than the 82.9-per-cent rate seen last May, according to CoStar, a global provider of real estate data, analytics and news. CoStar in May 2023 pinned the average daily room rate in Metro Vancouver at $226.21, meaning that the average daily room rate in the region in May jumped 40.3 per cent year-over-year.

"There just have not been many hotels built over the last decade, and actually supply and inventory have contracted in the past decade [in Metro Vancouver,]" CoStar's national director of hospitality analytics, Laura Baxter, told BIV this afternoon.

May is the first month this year that CoStar's data shows a higher occupancy rate in Vancouver than in the same month in 2023, and it was also for the first full month in which new provincial rules for short-term rentals came into effect. 

The B.C. government's legislation, which took effect May 1, holds that short-term rentals are only allowed in the principal homes of hosts in 60 new B.C. communities. Another 17 communities newly chose to adopt those regulations even though they were exempt from the provincial legislation.

Rules for short-term rentals did not change in the City of Vancouver because that city since 2018 has limited short-term rentals to the principal residences of hosts, and charged licence fees. The B.C. government's new short-term rental rules do newly apply in many Metro Vancouver municipalities, such as Burnaby, New Westminster, Delta, North Vancouver, West Vancouver and Surrey.

The aim of B.C.'s legislation was to free up housing units for longer-term rentals to limit the rise in the average rental rates in the region for residents.

The Metro Vancouver hotel data for May includes information from 195 hotels that combine to have nearly 26,000 rooms across the Lower Mainland and into the Fraser Valley, Baxter said.

"I think it is too early to tell whether all of that growth [in the region's occupancy rate] is related to the new regulations on short-term rentals," she added.

Tighter vacancy at Metro Vancouver hotels in May has been a trend, given that in May 2022, the region's occupancy rate was only 76.5 per cent. 

Occupancy rates and average daily room rates in other major metropolises in Canada in May included, in order of highest occupancy:

  • Ottawa's 78.3-per-cent occupancy rate and $223.53 average daily room rate;

  • Toronto's 76.4-per-cent occupancy rate and $254.88 average daily room rate;

  • Montreal's 76-per-cent occupancy rate and $233.68 average daily room rate;

  • Edmonton's 67.3-per-cent occupancy rate and $152.98 average daily room rate; and

  • Calgary's 67-per-cent occupancy rate and $168.49 average daily room rate, according to CoStar.

Baxter said Vancouver's anticipated record-breaking cruise season for passengers is likely a contributing factor in the higher occupancy and room rates. 

Indeed, B.C.'s tourism economy blooms when spring arrives. The Vancouver Canucks' playoff run may also have prompted out-of-towners to visit Vancouver to attend games, and then stay in hotels

In July 2023, Vancouver hotel rooms charged an average $347.08 daily rate, which was the highest figure that CoStar had ever recorded for a major city in Canada. 

Baxter said there is "every possibility" that Metro Vancouver this summer will set a new record for the highest-ever average daily room rate for a city in Canada within a calendar month.

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