Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Wonder Wednesday: How The Economy Is Affecting Travel

Despite the current economic uncertainty, a new report from PKF Hospitality Research shows that travel in the US is still going strong.  On an average night in 2012, hotels across the country are averaging approximately 63% occupancy rates (3 million of the country’s 4.8 million hotel rooms are occupied on an average night). 

According to the study, the average occupancy rates are almost 6% higher than they were in 2007, when the industry peaked before the recession.  Whether or not this higher demand will bring increased room rates remains to be seen, according to PKF Hospitality Research President, Mark Woodworth.  Woodworth explains that lodging increases generally follow increases in employment, income and gross domestic product, however, this time the lodging increases have come all on their own.  Although hotels are recording and projecting higher profits this year, Woodworth believes this is due to higher demand and not higher rates.
A few of the hospitality and tourism industry’s top destinations are still lagging, despite the overall increase.  Which three markets are lagging the most?  According to the PKF study- Tucson, AZ, West Palm Beach, FL and Atlanta, GA are still renting fewer rooms on average than they were in 2007.  These might be great places to check out for your upcoming meetings if you’re looking for a good deal (and who isn’t?)!

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