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The Azira Team

2 mins read

How Record-Breaking Heat Impacts Tourism

Summer 2023 brought extreme heat to much of the Northern Hemisphere. In fact, it’s officially become the hottest summer on record, according to the European Union Climate Change Service. Many cities throughout the U.S. also experienced either record-breaking or near-record-breaking heat this summer, including tourist hot spots New Orleans, Miami and Phoenix / Scottsdale.

How did the scorching temperatures affect tourism in these destinations? Azira looked at consumer behavior data for luxury hotels in New Orleans, Miami and Phoenix to understand the economic impact of heat on the travel & hospitality industries.

Phoenix had the hottest single month of any U.S. city on record in July. As temperatures soared to average daily highs of 103 degrees Fahrenheit in July, visitors to 5-star hotels in the area dropped by 32% versus June. Though temperatures came down a bit to average highs of 98 degrees Fahrenheit, visitors remained similarly low in August. Meanwhile, hotel rates dropped 37% versus average over the summer, compounding the revenue impact of the reduced visitors.

Summer Visitors vs. High Temperatures at Phoenix Hotels

The impact of extreme heat wasn’t limited to Phoenix, however. Other cities including top destinations like Miami and New Orleans saw drops in summer visitors as well (with drops of 17% and 12% respectively for July & August versus June).

Across the destinations, there was a pattern of more visitors coming from nearby and staying for shorter visits. The median distance traveled for visitors dropped across the destination hotels from 36.1 miles in 2022, to just 19.6 miles in 2023. And the average visit duration dropped from 3.4 days in 2022 to 1.5 days in 2023. This trend could potentially be explained by more locals taking advantage of lower rates at nearby resorts to enjoy a “staycation” with amenities like swimming pools, frozen drinks and hotel A/C.

Shorter Visits, closer to Home

Extreme heat poses a challenge for a myriad of reasons. The impact on the tourism and hospitality economy is just one of those. With consumer behavior data we’re able to help quantify the impact, which can hopefully inspire the change needed to protect our environment and practice more sustainable travel.

Study Methodology

Azira studied consumer behavior data for luxury hotel chains (including Four Seasons, Ritz Carlton, Fairmont, and Waldorf Astoria) in Phoenix, New Orleans, and Miami for June 1 – August 31, 2023 versus the same dates in 2022. Insights studied included visits & unique visitation, home location, and dwell time / visit duration.

Want to learn more about consumer shopping patterns? Download the report, The Great Generational Shopping Divide.