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Local Oxford hotel occupancies dip slightly in December

While hotel occupancy numbers dipped slightly in December in Oxford, the number of people coming and spending money continued to rise.

Hotel occupancy in December was down 17.8 percent from December 2015 and down just 1.3 for all of 2016; however, that doesn’t necessarily mean fewer people were staying at local hotels, according to Visit Oxford Assistant Director Kinney Ferris. It means more hotel rooms have been added to the city’s inventory with the opening of new hotels.

“Our occupancy rate overall for the year was 60.4 percent, which is a great number for Oxford,” she said Wednesday during the Oxford Tourism Council board meeting. “The occupancy numbers could continue to go down as more hotels are opened.”

The Graduate and the Courtyard by Marriott came on board last year. The Chancellor’s House, Tru by Hilton and Home2 Suites by Hilton are expected to open sometime this year.

Supply was up 19.4 percent from 2015 and demand was up 17.8 percent. Demand dipped in December, 7 percent down from December 2015.

Some of the decline was from the high school football state championship games being held in Oxford in 2015 and not in 2016.

However, the amount of tax revenue generated for Oxford from people staying in local hotels increased in December, up 18 percent, from $20,223 in 2015 to $23,418 in December 2016. The 2 percent Food and Beverage Tax also increased in December, up 4 percent, from $196,488 in December 2015 to $205,181 in December 2016.

Tax revenue has increased each month of the 2016-2017 fiscal year which began Oct. 1. In October, the 2 percent tax increased 3 percent and in November, also 3 percent, from those months in 2015. So far, the first quarter of the fiscal year, more than $737,661 has been raised through the food and beverage tax through December and $113,314 from the hotel/motel tax.

The 2 percent and hotel/motel tax revenue numbers for January were not available Wednesday.