Hotel occupancy falls with power and water return

Published 12:20 am Saturday, February 20, 2021

As power and some water pressure began to stabilize in Southeast Texas this week, local hotels saw their number of occupants decrease.

During the worst parts of the winter storm, local hotels saw an uptick in occupancies due to refinery workers and families fleeing unfavorable conditions.

Officials with Port Arthur’s Hampton Inn & Suites and Holiday Inn Express said they had a noticeable increase, but the numbers began to come down Thursday as the area regained electricity and water pressure.

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Temperatures dropped into the teens Tuesday when Entergy was reporting thousands of Southeast Texans without power. With pipes bursting, causing damages to homes and apartments and low water pressure throughout the county, many sought refugee in the hotels.

Donald Jones, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Lake Charles, said the Port Arthur area experienced between 1-2 inches of snow and ice and temperatures as low as 14 degrees.

A spokesperson with Hampton Inn & Suites said the hotel reached near capacity and had approximately two rooms to spare at its most crowded.

An employee working at the front desk of the Holiday Inn Express said the hotel had a higher number of occupants but said they were mostly refinery workers.

“With the storm we are getting an influx of people who are trying to get closer to their worksites,” the spokesperson said. “We also had people coming in because they didn’t have power at their house. We’ve had people local and from Houston. We had people from there come in this direction. If Houston is still out of power, people are choosing to stay here because water is coming back to the area.”

The storm left several parts of the Houston area without power or water.

On Thursday afternoon, Hampton Inn & Suites had noticed another slight uptick in rooms being purchased, but it was too early to tell if it would continue throughout the weekend.

While parts of Jefferson County are dealing with water pressure issues and power outages, the Hampton Inn & Suites reported a return to water pressure Wednesday. By Thursday evening, Entergy reported power was fully restored to Port Arthur and Mid-County.

The spokesperson said the hotel’s occupancy varies depending on the part of the week. Occupancy typically increases Monday-Wednesday and begins to decline as the weekend approaches.

“If the storm would’ve happened over the weekend, we would’ve been sold out over the weekend,” the spokesperson for Hampton Inn & Suites said. “Since this happened over one of our busier nights anyways, many people were canceling and people were taking over those rooms.”

Neither hotel was forced to turn people away due to capacity.