For the last several months, we have been sharing with you the positive impact being seen through the Smith Travel Research (STR) Report. This report looks at our hotel properties, which self-report, the status of monthly occupancy, average daily rate (ADR), demand and revenue. Through August, even with a summer of extreme weather, our numbers appeared to be holding compared to 2017, a record year for lodging demand.
As with all reporting, we will share both the ups and downs. The number we have been focusing on has been the demand which represents total rooms booked. This is a consistent number, not influenced by inventory or room rate. Through August, demand was up 5.6 percent over 2017, with August up 4.7 percent. With the wet and wild weather of September, for the fist time all year, we saw demand drop 2.9 percent, resulting in a year-to-date demand increase of 4.5 percent. Revenue for September was down 3.4 percent from September 2017, impacted by both drop in demand and a slight drop in ADR of 0.5 percent. It is important to note, that even with a slight drop in ADR and a drop in demand for September, revenue is still up year-to-date by 2.7 percent.
As a leisure travel destination, many things can impact our visitation. We have watched over the years as the price of fuel impacts our visitation, as well as politics and the dates of holidays and school openings. Environmental impact by weather - rain, snow and heat - have definitely left the mark. This September was one of those heavily impacted months. In addition to the cancellation of World War II events, even the Gettysburg Wine & Music Festival was forced to end short.
"We have had rain in prior years with little impact on attendance," noted Carrie Stuart, President of the Gettysburg Adams Chamber of Commerce and host of the Gettysburg Wine & Music Festival, "but this year's rain caused a nearly 50 percent decrease in tickets sold at the gate on Saturday and closed the event on Sunday. No additional marketing could have helped attendance."
As we approach the final quarter of 2018, now is the time to capitalize on fall, the commemorations of Dedication and Remembrance Day and of course the holidays. October, from what we have been hearing from members, is on track with historical trends. We have heard that December is already booking up with the new Gettysburg Christmas Festival and other yuletide events, weddings and group tour. If you need ideas to drive traffic, please reach out. We have great content that you can share to entice visitors to the area and directly to your business.
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