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Feb. 22--WILLIAMSBURG -- After a flat 2013, hotel occupancy has gotten off to a worse start in 2014, according to statistics compiled by Smith Travel Research.

As always, January is a slow month in the Historic Triangle. But this year, possibly due to more snow, it was even slower than 2013.

Area room occupancy was 16.2 percent in January, down from 18.3 percent a year ago. That's despite the fact that the destination had fewer rooms this January than last.

Other measures of hotel financial health were also bad. The average daily room rate fell from $64.41 in 2013 to $63.24 this year. And the hotels' average revenue per available room tumbled more than $1.50, from $11.79 to $10.25.

January tourist numbers in the Historic Triangle are usually bad.

Ron Kirkland, executive director of the Williamsburg Hotel-Motel Association, said he was more concerned by the area's performance as compared to competitive markets.

The Williamsburg area had a far lower occupancy rate than any of the 12 competitive markets listed by Smith Travel. The next lowest were Pigeon Forge/Gatlinsburg at 24.4 percent, Myrtle Beach at 26.5 percent and Virginia Beach at 31 percent.

"January numbers are about what was expected for Williamsburg," Kirkland said. "The thing that stands out to me are the numbers that they are getting in Virginia Beach, Myrtle Beach, and Pigeon Forge/Gatlinsburg compared to what we are getting in Williamsburg."

Williamsburg's occupancy rate was also far below the national and state averages. Across the country hotel occupancy was at 52.2 percent. The rate in Virginia was lower, 41.9 percent.

The highest rate among competitive markets was 72.7 percent in Orlando.

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