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The definitive guide to hotel parking counts

In the past, STR has received questions regarding average parking space at U.S. hotels. Most of the time, those questions have come from developers looking to support plans that include parking structures.

Since the STR hotel database is now integrated into the CoStar property database, we can connect individual building parking space counts to hotel class and location types to come up with parking spot averages. We can also look at the open date of hotels and understand if and how average parking counts have changed over time. 

The number of parking spots in each hotel is defined by local zoning ordinances and brand standards.  Counts vary by location type and hotel class and are often, but not always, directly tied to the size of the hotel. 

For the purpose of analysis, we omitted hotels with room counts of under 10 as well as the large casino hotels with over 10,000 parking spots. In general, we see that airport and upper upscale class hotels offer the most parking space, where economy properties provide the least.

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Parking Space by Class & Year Opened

Not surprisingly, Upper Upscale hotels, often offering large meeting space offer the most parking spots whereas smaller, economy type hotels offer the fewest.  It seems that hotels built in the 1980s have on average more spots available.

Parking Space by Location and Year Opened

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Hotels in airport and resort locations provide the most spots, while hotels in rural locations show the fewest. Often, urban hotels are larger and hence need more parking spaces. 

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The national average of packing spots per room is 1.24. This count had stayed relatively stable for hotels that opened in the 50 years between 1960 and 2010, but the average has decreased over the last decade, likely a function of more smaller, limited-service hotels. The counts by class are grouped relatively closely together between 1.21 and 1.32 parking spots per room.

One question on developers’ and city planners’ mind is if the ubiquity of ride share applications can diminish the need for parking spots.  Our data is not quite conclusive yet, partially because ride sharing is still a recent phenomenon that buildings have not yet been adjusted to this new reality.

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As room counts are only part of the equation for parking needs, a closer look at the parking count per 1,000 square feet of space is warranted. Calculations show a relatively higher need for parking for limited-service hotels, more than two spots per 1,000 square feet. For full-service hotels, the average count is smaller, below two per 1,000 square feet. This is likely influenced by the relatively larger need for back-of-house area for hotels on the upper end, which in turns drives the total hotel square footage up. It also seems that over the last three decades, parking requirements per square foot have decreased for luxury and upscale class hotels.

Overall, parking space requirements have not changed much over time for hotels divided by class or location type. Requirements do, however, vary by property size, and limited-service hotels offer fewer spaces than full-service providers. We will continue to monitor new hotel development to understand if parking requirements adjust to changes in post-pandemic travel behavior.

Written by Jan Freitag
Data analysis by Tingting Duan

For further insights into COVID-19’s impact on global hotel performance, visit our content hub.