Friday, August 13, 2010

Hotel Rebound Continues As Meetings Pick Up

The rebound in the U.S. hotel industry continued in the first week of August, meaning hoteliers are breathing easier but, for travelers, room rates are rising.

Smith Travel Research says that for the week of Aug. 1-7, occupancy increased 6.7 percent, average daily room rates increased 1.6 percent and revenue per available room -- the key metric, called RevPAR -- increased 8.4 percent. This is against data from the comparable week last summer.

Part of the rebound is being driven by an increase in company and other group meetings, said Steve Hood, senior vice president at Smith Travel. He added, "Oahu Island, Hawaii; Houston; Anaheim-Santa Ana, Calif.; Seattle and San Diego were among the markets to report big bumps in group occupancy for the week, due to an increase in convention-conference activity."

All top 25 markets reported occupancy and RevPAR increases for the week.

Detroit had the largest occupancy increase, rising 26.1 percent to 69.1 percent. [UPDATE: Detroit? Turns out the Detroit economy is doing very well, see this in the New York Times.]

Three other top markets posted occupancy increases of more than 15 percent: Norfolk-Virginia Beach, Virginia (+17.0 percent to 87.5 percent); Tampa-St. Petersburg, Florida (+15.6 percent to 62.4 percent); and Chicago +15.5 percent to 78.9 percent). San Francisco/San Mateo (+0.3 percent to 91.1 percent), and Orlando (+0.2 percent to 68.4 percent) ended the week virtually flat in occupancy.

New York City hotels reported the only double-digit increase in average daily rates, up 12.4 percent to $215.63.

[New York is thriving as a tourist spot. NYC & Company, the New York tourism agency, said separately today that the city had about 23.5 million visitors in the first half of this year, an 8.75 percent increase over the same period in 2009. New York City remains on course to have approximately 47.5 million visitors by the end of 2010 – a 4.2 percent increase over 2009, and a new record, the agency said.]

In the Smith Travel Research report, meanwhile, the New York City average daily rate increase was followed by Boston (+6.6 percent to $137.34), and San Francisco/San Mateo (+6.5 percent to $143.51). Nashville reported the largest average daily rate drop, falling 5.3 percent to $80.45.


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