By Rick Ritter

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Not the season they hoped for. Hotels across Baltimore are experiencing a summer slump. Many operators are pointing towards the April riots as the reason.

Rick Ritter has more on a weekend they hope can revitalize Charm City.

Billy Joel, Otakon and a Pride festival all brought in millions of dollars to Baltimore, but hotel owners say it’s going to take several weekends like that for them to even come close to making a full recovery.

A sea of fans mirrored the image of a sold-out crowd as Billy Joel packed it into M&T Bank Stadium. Mix that with Otakon and Pride, and it was a weekend Baltimore hotels hadn’t seen in months.

“Our company has two properties in the Baltimore area and we both were sold out this weekend,” said Steve Niyitrai, area manager for two hotels.

Officials say a sold-out event at M&T Bank Stadium brings in $10 million alone to the city. Saturday’s concert is a sense that Baltimore is finally recovering after April’s riots.

“I think so,” said Mike Evitts, Downtown Partnership. “The fact that the concert sold out, and it sold out even in spite of what people saw on their TV sets that happened here this past spring.”

Despite the busy weekend, hotels across Baltimore say their numbers are still down for the summer, with many hesitant to visit Charm City.

Last June, downtown hotels had an occupancy rate of 82 percent. This summer, they’re down nearly 10 percent. In May, the occupancy rate dropped to nearly 65 percent.

“The sad part is the summer season is coming to an end,” Niyitrai said. “We won’t see a full recovery this year.”

Those like Daphnee McClellan who live in the city still have out-of-town family second-guessing visits.

“We said, `We’re going to go to an Orioles game,’ and she said, `Oh, do you think that will be safe?’ And I said, `Uh, yes,'” McClellan said.

But last weekend has many optimistic hope is not lost.

“The rearview mirror is small; the windshield is big. Always look forward and keep moving forward,” Niyitrai said.

There are a few big weekends coming up for the city. One Direction will play at M&T Bank Stadium, followed by a color run. Of course, the Ravens preseason is just around the corner and many are hoping the Orioles will make another postseason run.

Despite the drop in occupancy, statistics show most hotels haven’t dropped their daily rate for rooms.

Rick Ritter

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