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Uptick in Business Travel Aids Hospitality Growth

July 13, 2011 By: George Dooley Travel Agent

Business travel is leading the way in the hospitality industry growth followed by leisure and then group travel according to new data from the June 2011 TravelClick North American Hospitality Review. The study details hotel bookings currently reserved during the period, May 31, 2011 through May 31, 2012.

The data also revealed that across key U.S. market segments, industry revenue per room (RevPAR) is up 5.7 percent compared to the same time period last year.  The Miami (16.9 percent), San Francisco (16.3 percent) and Houston (11.3 percent) markets all show double digit RevPAR growth.  Overall committed occupancy is up two percent and average daily rates (ADR) are up three percent.

“We are very encouraged by the growth in business travel and in key U.S. markets,” said Larry Kutscher, chief executive officer for TravelClick. “Based on TravelClick’s prospective data and our knowledge of the travel industry, we believe that as the overall economy strengthens, there will be an uptick in leisure travel bookings and eventually group travel.”

TravelClick’s North American Hospitality review also revealed that 9.8 percent fewer hotel rooms were booked during May 2011 as compared to May 2010.  Group sales – large blocks of rooms purchased long before travel occurs – were a major contributor to this decline with 42 percent fewer rooms booked compared to May 2010.

Kutscher continued, “There can be no question that the hospitality industry is a key barometer in determining the health of the overall economy.  Notwithstanding the increase in business travel and uptick in key markets, given concerns of a ‘double dip’ in the economy, TravelClick will continue to monitor the industry and report regularly on the state of hotel occupancy.”

For the summer (June – August, 2011), business travel demand is up 7.4 percent year-over-year.  ADR for this segment is up 4.5 percent.  Markets with the largest increase in occupancy year-over-year include: Detroit (26.8 percent); Minneapolis-St. Paul (17.2 percent); Charlotte (16.6 percent); Boston (14.2 percent) and Atlanta (14.1 percent).

“While the macro data is interesting, the real value of TravelClick’s business intelligence is our ability to dive deeper on a market-by-market basis,” said Tim Hart, executive vice president, business intelligence at TravelClick.  “With double digit increases in occupancy in the business travel segment, there are a few secondary markets such as Detroit, Minneapolis -St. Paul and Charlotte, that we believe are worth keeping an eye on from an industry and overall economic perspective.”

The markets showing the most improvement in overall occupancy (business, leisure and group travel) for the next 12 months compared to last year include Indianapolis (7.8 percent improvement), Philadelphia (6.3 percent improvement) and San Francisco (7.1 percent improvement). The markets showing the least amount of improvement in occupancy as compared to last year are Honolulu (5.7 percent decline) and San Antonio (3.4 percent decline).

“Improvements in Philadelphia, Indianapolis and San Francisco can be attributed to a number of factors including their importance in the American business market.  While business travel is a key driver, an interesting factor to note is that all three markets also experienced an uptick in group sales,” Hart added.  “Two other markets that we are watching are Miami and Detroit.  These markets have experienced significant increases in transient or individual bookings with increased occupancy of 10.1 percent and 13.6 percent respectively, year-over-year.”

For the second quarter of 2011 (April -June, 2011), RevPAR is up six percent compared to 2010. ADR growth remained modest, increasing 2.8 percent, while occupancy increased 2.4 percent.  Detroit had the largest increase in occupancy for the quarter, up 9.6 percent compared to last year.  San Francisco reported the largest increase in ADR, a 9.1 percent year-over-year hike.
Kutscher said, “One of the most important takeaways for hoteliers is that ADR has overtaken occupancy as the key revenue driver for hotels.”

Committed occupancy for the third quarter of 2011 is up 0.8 percent compared to the same time last year with transient bookings continuing to lead the way – 3.4 percent ahead of last year.  Group committed occupancy is relatively unchanged with a 0.2 percent decrease.

The TravelClick North American Hospitality Review is based on reservation and committed group sales data by hotel companies participating in TravelClick’s MarketVision Demand Position Product that include: Gaylord, Hilton, Hyatt, InterContinental, Loews, Marriott, Omni and Starwood.

The data is collected in 25 major North American markets, representing 202 million annual room nights and $27 billion in annual room revenue. TravelClick is the only business intelligence provider that provides comprehensive forward-looking data, based on real bookings, to hoteliers around the globe.


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About the Author

George Dooley
George Dooley, Travel Agent’s senior contributing editor covering retail and technology, has a long-standing reputation as one of the top travel industry journalists. He notes...

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By George Dooley | July 13, 2011
As the economy strengthens, there will be an uptick in leisure travel bookings.
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