Destinations Benefit from Rail-to-Airport Connection

Several American cities have a secret weapon to attract business travelers and lucrative meetings and conventions – a rail line to the airport terminal, says a new study released by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) and the U.S. Travel Association

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One conclusion: hotels - including luxury hotels - in cities with direct rail access from downtown to airport terminals receive nearly 11 percent more revenue per room than hotels in cities without a rail airport connection.

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The jointly released study, "A New Partnership: Rail Transit and Convention Growth," shows that higher revenue per room translates to a potential $313 million in revenue per year for “rail cities” – cities which have direct rail access to airport terminals. In the post-recession period, rail cities commanded 16 percent higher revenue per room than hotels in non-rail cities.

According to the study, hotel properties located within quarter of a mile of a rail station performed even better than those outside of that radius.  These hotel properties averaged a nearly 50 percent higher (48.6 percent) daily room rate and a 12.5 percent higher occupancy rate. 

“Rail cities” represented in the report include Atlanta, Chicago, Washington, D.C., Minneapolis, Portland, and San Francisco – all of which have major multimodal transportation infrastructure options for both residents and travelers. These six “rail cities” were compared to hotel performance in popular convention cities that lacked a direct rail connection to the airport terminal: Las Vegas, New Orleans, Orlando, and Sacramento and Tampa.

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Business meetings and conventions are not limited to American attendees, the study notes. In fact, international travelers accounted for 14.6 percent of total business travel spending in 2012, which generated nearly $38 billion, supported 332,000 American jobs and generated $5.7 billion in tax revenue, according to the study.  Intermodal infrastructure that provides direct public transit service from airports to cities provides a competitive edge in winning global business meetings, conventions and events, according the study.

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