Tom York on Business: San Diego hotels poised for recovery from pandemic disruption

The new entrance to the Hotel Del Coronado will open on October 21st.  Photo by Chris Stone
The recently renovated entrance to the Hotel Del Coronado. Photo by Chris Stone

Tourism is one of the region’s biggest economic drivers, if not the biggest. But the industry is still in recovery mode after the COVID-19 pandemic. That’s according to the San Diego County Lodging Association’s 2023 Hotel Economic Forecast, which says hotels are poised to continue recovering after two years of disruption

“We’re recovering, but we’re not recovered yet,” said the top executive FredTayco in a press release. “We are cautiously optimistic that business and convention travelers will make San Diego their travel destination of choice in 2023, just as leisure travelers did in the second half of 2021 and throughout 2022.”

The association cooperates with San Diego Tourism Board and RAR hospitality to create the 2023 Hotel Economy Forecast. Analysis of forecast data for 2023 indicates that hotels in San Diego are likely to see:

  • Business and convention travel is up 9.8% from 2022 but remains 10% below 2019.
  • Leisure travel is down slightly, down 0.8% from the 2022 recovery peak, but still 3.0% ahead of 2019 as financial concerns, rising borrowing costs, a looming recession and increased competitive pressures from other destinations each have an impact.

There were fewer guests overall — compared to pre-pandemic numbers — but those guests are likely to stay longer. Travelers are choosing San Diego over other California regions that have been slower to reopen.

“Next year could be a transition for San Diego hotels as they adjust to new travel patterns and hire new staff,” he said Nate Kellyone of two authors of the economic forecast 2023.

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The good the bad and the ugly. The median price of existing single-family homes in California saw the largest quarter-on-quarter price decline since the first quarter of 2011, the company said California Association of Realtors in a press release.

However, and this is a big “but,” despite the decline in average price, the proportion of California households that could afford to buy a condo or townhouse at the average price continued to decline from a year earlier as borrowing costs declined continued to rise in the wake of the US Federal Reserve’s recent rate hikes.

Here in Southern California, affordability increased in San Diego and other counties outside of Los Angeles. In San Diego, affordability increased 1 percentage point from 14% in Q2 to 15% in Q3, but was well below the rate of 23% in Q3 2021.

Across California, the percentage of homebuyers who could afford to buy an existing single-family home at the median price increased slightly to 18% in the third quarter of 2022 from 16% in the second quarter, but declined from 24% in the third quarter of 2021, according to the Association’s Traditional Housing Affordability Index.

According to CAR, California reached a new affordability peak of 56% in the first quarter of 2012.

The index is considered the most basic measure of homebuyer well-being in the state.

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Speaking of residential real estate, the Federal association of real estate agents has lent it Greater San Diego Association of Realtors the Gold Global Achievement Program Award.

The program recognizes the most active broker associations in global business. The NAR noted that San Diego has demonstrated a solid level of service to its worldwide members over the past year.

Among recent activities to receive recognition, SDAR hosted a “caravan” for 55 members and guests from San Diego to tour properties in Tijuana and Rosarito; held a seminar for 70 San Diego members and guests on working with foreign buyers in real estate; and signed reciprocity agreements with more than 20 overseas real estate groups.

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According to, a San Diego business owner who was recently featured on an episode of ABC’s Shark Tank Friday is enjoying a big business boom.

The product Nana Hats was developed sean eagle, a local resident. Even his family didn’t know about the deal until the episode aired Nov. 11, Alder told the network.

The storage product fits over bananas with a small silicone knit cap. Adler said he got the idea when he was wondering what he could do to extend the shelf life of bananas. He said he’s tried everything from duct tape to cling film to aluminum foil, according to the broadcaster.

When the pandemic hit, Nana Hats came alive as he had time to work on his product.

He applied to appear on the popular TV show, and when he did, he pitched his product to the panel of investors.

Adler said when he made his pitch, panelists laughed at the idea, but upon hearing of its success to date, several suggested investments.

Adler secured a deal with panelists Lori Greiner and Peter Jones.

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Local Utilities San Diego Gas & Electricity and General Motors have reached an agreement to study the integration of bi-directional electric vehicles into the power grid as a local energy source.

Following GM’s announcement of its newest division, GM Energy, the study will examine the hardware, software, processes and design considerations needed to accelerate the broader adoption of vehicle-to-grid integration capabilities.

Under the new agreement, GM and SDG&E will explore three VGI capabilities: vehicle-to-home, vehicle-to-grid, and a virtual power plant that can leverage distributed energy resources such as electric vehicles, batteries, and chargers to meet grid demands.

GM Vice President Travis Hester said, “As GM continues its journey toward an all-electric future, expanding the capabilities of electric vehicles represents a significant opportunity to strengthen grid resilience and mitigate the impact of disruptions.”

According to a study by , cars are parked for an average of 95% of their useful life UCLA professor Donald Schoup.

California is home to 1.2 million electric vehicles, the largest concentration in the US. By 2035, all new automobiles and passenger vehicles sold in California must be zero emissions.

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Finally…based in San Diego Planet Based Foodswhich uses hemp as a key ingredient in its meat products, has struck a deal with a grocery chain Kroger.

The alternative meat products maker announced in a press release that its new Southwest Taquitos and Original Taquitos, as well as its Green Chili Southwest Hemp Burger are now available in 700 Kroger stores west.

The local company is a unit of Planet Based Foods Globalpublicly traded over-the-counter and on stock exchanges in Canada and Germany.

Tom York is a Carlsbad-based independent journalist specializing in writing about business and economics. If you have any news tips you’d like to share, send them to [email protected]


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