U.S. Hotel 2015 Profits Surpass 2007 Market Peak

U.S. Hotel 2015 Profits Surpass 2007 Market Peak

Vacation News » United States Edition | By Monsef Rachid | May 11, 2016 9:03 AM ET

According to STR's 25th annual HOST Almanac, U.S. hotel industry revenue topped an estimated $189 billion in 2015, adding nearly $14 billion in revenue from 2014.

Total industrywide house profit reached almost $73 billion, a year-over-year increase of 9.4% on a per-available-room basis. On an absolute nominal basis, the house profit represents an all-time high, and the house profit margin for 2015 exceeds the previous industry peak reached in 2007.

"Industry revenues and profits continue to reach record highs," said Joseph Rael, STR's director of financial performance.  "Additionally, we saw profit margin finally surpass the previous peak from 2007. Of course, at this point in the cycle, we're seeing both revenue and profit growth starting to slow, and we expect growth to continue to taper over the next couple of years as well."

Revenue and GOP growth levels were strong in 2015, but lower than the levels experienced in 2014. On a nominal basis, house profit increased 11.2%, compared to 12.9% in 2014.

Inflation-Adjusted Profits

Last year, the HOST Almanac presented an extensive analysis of inflation-adjusted profits for the industry. STR found that while profits on a nominal basis were at an all-time peak, inflation-adjusted profits were strong, but still below previous peaks. Also, 2014 profits were below the profit levels of six other years since 1990 (after adjusting for inflation).

In real terms, the industry's total revenue in 2015 surpassed the levels realized at the previous peak of 2007, but remained below the peak in 2000. Similarly, the house profit realized in 2015 was the second-best profit level since 1990, behind only the peak of $15,248 per-available-room in 2000. 

STR notes that labor costs were much lower in 2000. In comparing a same-store set of more than 1,100 hotels for 2000 and 2015, labor costs were up from 29.3% of total revenues in 2000 to 32.3% in 2015. 

Same-Store Analysis

STR also analyzed same-store rates of change for approximately 5,000 hotels that participated in the HOST program in 2014 and 2015. In this analysis, full-service hotels grew house profit 7.3%, while limited-service hotels grew profit 6.4%. Upper Midscale hotels showed the greatest profit increases (8.4%), while the Luxury class segment recorded the smallest increase (6.0%).

Marketing and utilities led to the largest changes in 2015, with marketing increasing 8.6% and utilities decreasing 3.5%. Rooms expense, A&G and POM grew moderately (+2.4%), while management fee growth slightly surpassed total revenue growth at 5.3%.  Total labor costs grew at a reasonable 4.2% in 2015, although salaries and wages increased 7.2% for those hotels that reported the breakdown of labor costs.

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