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Sonoma County hotels busier in March

Sonoma County hotel occupancy was 59.7 percent in March, up 6.7 percent from last year, according to Smith Travel Research, which tracks the lodging sector.

The average daily room rate grew 3.6 percent to $98.57, the company said.

Last month's room sales were the most for March in more than six years. The county's travel industry began recovering from a two-year slump in 2010, but room rates haven't returned to pre-recession levels.

The average daily rate was $112.95 in 2007.

County hotels reported almost $11.2 million in room revenue in March, up 10.4 percent from last year and the highest dollar amount since 2007. The report covers 91 Sonoma County lodging properties with 6,122 rooms.

The U.S. hotel sector saw occupancy grow 3.8 percent to 56.8 percent in the first quarter, the company said. The nation's average daily rate rose 4 percent to $103.54.


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