U.S. Hotel Market Sending Mixed Performance Signals, Again

Vacation News » Vacation & Leisure Real Estate Edition | By Michael Gerrity | April 21, 2010 12:33 PM ET

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Mark Lomanno

According to data from Smith Travel Research (STR), the U.S. hotel industry posted mixed results in the three key performance measurements during March 2010.

In year-over-year measurements, the industry's occupancy was up 5.9 percent to 57.9 percent. Average daily rate dropped 2.0 percent to finish the month at US$97.90. Revenue per available room for the month increased 3.8 percent to finish at US$56.67.

"As expected, the economic recovery had a very positive impact on the March 2010 data," said Mark Lomanno, president of STR. "Demand increased 8.8 percent for the month and 5.3 percent for the first quarter, allowing hoteliers to use discounts a lot more selectively than in the past months.

"And while higher-end hotels in major urban markets benefitted from increased transient demand, hoteliers should continue to pay attention to pricing strategies for group customers," he continued. "Anecdotal evidence suggests group demand is increasing, but the rooms are booked within a lot shorter booking window."

Among the Top 25 Markets, Boston, Massachusetts, reported the largest occupancy increase, rising 18.0 percent to 62.3 percent, followed by New York, New York, with a 16.0-percent increase to 81.4 percent. New York's occupancy rate was the highest of the month, followed closely by Miami-Hialeah, Florida, ending the month at 81.1 percent occupancy for March. Two of the top markets posted occupancy declines: Houston, Texas (-5.0 percent to 61.0 percent), and Norfolk-Virginia Beach, Virginia (-4.2 percent to 46.8 percent).

New Orleans, Louisiana, reported the only double-digit ADR increase, rising 10.8 percent to US$128.37, followed by Miami-Hialeah with a 5.6-percent increase to US$180.77. Chicago, Illinois, experienced the largest ADR decrease, dropping 8.2 percent to US$98.77, followed by Houston with a 7.4-percent decrease to US$90.56.

Four markets posted double-digit RevPAR increases: New Orleans (+26.2 percent to US$91.40); Miami-Hialeah (+16.7 percent to US$146.60); New York (+16.6 percent to US$158.37); and Boston (+12.3 percent to US$77.80). Four of the Top 25 Markets ended the month with RevPAR decreases: Houston (-12.0 percent to US$55.21); Norfolk-Virginia Beach (-7.4 percent to US$33.97); Dallas, Texas (-3.9 percent to US$46.38); and Chicago (-1.1 percent to US$54.57).

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