Hotels seeing higher occupancy rate near SF's Union Square

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- During this holiday season, there are signs everywhere that the hotel industry near San Francisco's Union Square is coming back.

"It is really exciting because it's really feeling really busy and almost a bit like normal back here in Union Square. I just can't believe it. It's been a long 18-month run," expressed Jon Kimball, General Manager of the Westin St. Francis on Union Square.

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Kevin Carroll of the Hotel Council of San Francisco says while the hotels are not fully booked, the increase in occupancy is having an impact on jobs and on the local economy.

"Our employees have been out of work, many of the for over a year and half and they're starting to come back when when people travel more people come here and when people stay in a hotel they're spending more outside of the hotels," added Carroll.

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According to the Hotel Council, prior to the pandemic, the hotel occupancy rate during the holidays was close to 85 percent. Today, there are nowhere near that number but they are optimistic.

Today that number is in the 40 percent range.

"Forty percent is much higher than what we saw last December and we're consistently seeing increases in occupancy as more and more people get out. We're seeing a lot of people who want to come and have experiences throughout the city," explained Aaron Feeney, of Hotel Zetta.

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The heavy police presence is reassuring to the hotels, their guests and even their employees. The hotel industry hopes that won't go away once the holidays are over.

"We continuously push for more presence and more and more police to be out here for everybody, so we're hoping that continues," said Carroll.

Hotels hope in the upcoming months the travel forecast improves as international travel begins to pick up.

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