As the lodging industry slowly emerges from its multiyear slump, some U.S. cities are more in demand than others. In fact, half of the major market cities in the U.S. have revenues per available room, or, ratios that are either lagging the U.S. average over the past three years or decelerating. For meeting planners, that means negotiating power, says Bjorn Hanson of PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, author of the newly released “State of the Lodging Industry” report.
According to the report, Houston, Philadelphia, and St. Louis saw RevPAR ratios decline from 2002 to 2003. Several major markets — Atlanta, Boston, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Minneapolis, New Orleans, New York, Orlando, and San Francisco — had RevPAR performance lower than the U.S. average from 2000 through 2003.
In 20 of the 26 cities surveyed, room demand has decreased. San Francisco and Dallas, with drops of about 18 percent and 13 percent respectively, were hardest hit. Supply, on the other hand, increased in every major market except Oahu from 2000 to 2003. New Orleans had the highest growth in supply at about 17 percent, followed by Anaheim with about a 14 percent jump.
However, the hotel industry is shifting into recovery mode, according to Hanson, and hotel room occupancy rates are projected to increase from 59.3 percent in 2003 to 61.2 percent in 2004. RevPAR is expected to jump 5.2 percent in 2004, following an increase of just 0.3 percent in 2003, and hotel profits are expected to rise 15.9 percent in 2004 after declining 3.9 percent in 2003. Upscale and upper upscale hotels will lead the charge, he says.
For meeting planners, this upward trend may ultimately mean higher rates for rooms booked in 2004 — and less interest in group business. Hanson projects an average room rate increase for groups of about 2 percent for 2004, as meetings and conventions become a lower priority for hotels. Says Hanson, “The perceived balance of power between hotels and meeting/convention planners will shift in most markets back to the hotels.”
Is Your Destination Leading or Lagging?
|Las Vegas||Los Angeles||Philadelphia||Boston|
|Washington D.C.||New Orleans|
|Source: PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP based on Smith Travel Research data through October 2003.|