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5 things to know: 22 November 2011
November 22 2011
Highlights

• STR Global releases October hotel performance results;
• TravelClick: Thanksgiving travelers will give ADR a boost;
• U.K. hoteliers report blackmail attempts via TripAdvisor;
• new technologies to shake up distribution strategies; and
• HIL: U.S. hotel business activity up during October.

STR and STR Global, respectively parent and sister company of HotelNewsNow.com, today posted their October performance results for the four world regions:

Americas: The Americas region ended October with a 2.8% increase in occupancy to 62.9%, a 4% gain in average daily rate to US$106.69, and a 6.9% jump in revenue per available room to US$67.14.

Asia/Pacific: The region’s occupancy fell 2% to 70%, its ADR increased 8.4% to US$150.60, and its revenue per available room was up 6.2% to US$105.41.

Europe: The European hotel industry posted positive results in year-over-year metrics when reported in U.S. dollars, euros and British pounds for October 2011, according to data compiled by STR Global.

Year-over-year October 2011 figures for Europe (U.S. dollars, euros and British pounds):

  Europe % change
Occupancy 71.7% +1.9%
ADR (U.S. dollars) $143.40 +2.4%
ADR (euros) €101.40 +0.9%
ADR (British pounds) £88.95 +1.8%
RevPAR (U.S. dollars) $102.79 +4.3%
RevPAR (euros) €72.68 +2.8%
RevPAR (British pounds) £63.76 +3.7%
Source: STR Global

Middle East/Africa: The region ended the month with a 3.4% decrease in occupancy to 63.4%, a 7.3% rise in ADR to US$169.42, and a 3.6% increase in RevPAR to US$107.37.

A 4% bump in the number of Americans traveling this Thanksgiving holiday will see a similar rise in ADR for hotels in the top 25 U.S. hotel markets.

AAA last week forecast 42.5 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more from home from 23-27 November, an increase over the 40.9 million who made the trip during 2010. This is the first significant increase in any holiday travel this year.

Those extra travelers are unlikely to fuel a significant increase in hotel occupancy in the country’s top 25 markets, however. Committed occupancy for the five-day holiday weekend is up only 0.3%, according to TravelClick.

ADR, on the other hand, will see a gain of 4.7%, TravelClick reported.

Read “Thanksgiving to drive ADR in top 25 US markets.” 

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A number of hotels in the United Kingdom have reported blackmail attempts by guests who have threatened a bad review or rating on TripAdvisor unless they get upgrades or discounted stays, reports The Telegraph.

On TripAdvisor's own message boards, scores of owners describe how guests have made attempts to extort money. A typical posting reads: “I am fed up of blackmail by guests either asking for upgrades and promising to put a good report on trip advisor (sic) or people who complain stating if we don't get our money back + compensation I will put a bad review on.”

The Telegraph quotes a TripAdvisor spokeswoman who said: “We take allegations of blackmail or threatening behavior by guests against property owners very seriously. … Not only is it strictly against our guidelines, but it may also be illegal.”

The website is being investigated by the Advertising Standards Authority following thousands of complaints from hoteliers about allegedly misleading and fraudulent reviews.

HotelNewsNow.com’s Jason Q. Freed is back from last week’s PhoCusWright conference with a bevy of intriguing new technologies and updates that could shake up your hotel-distribution strategy. Among them:

• Travelocity’s “ask and answer” feature, which allows guests to ask questions about a hotel that are then answered by a hotel rep or someone in the social community;
• Hotel Tonight, which launched in February and allows hoteliers to unload discounted inventory at the last minute;
• and perhaps most scandalous, Backbid, which works as follows: Travelers book a room and then send their confirmation number to Backbid. Hotels in the surrounding area are then able to bid, or pitch, to that traveler with value-adds and private rates. The consumer can pick his or her favorite bid and change their reservation. The new reservation is pre-paid and non-refundable.

Read “5 standout innovations from PhoCusWright.”

The likelihood of the U.S. hotel industry entering into a recession in the near term was only 2.3% during October, according to e-forecasting.com’s Hotel Industry Leading indicator, or HIL. When this recession-warning gauge passes the threshold probability of 50% for more than three months, the U.S. hotel industry will enter a recession phase in its business cycle. 

The indicator’s six-month growth rate, which has historically confirmed the forthcoming turning points in U.S. hotel business activity, posted a positive rate of 3.5% during October following a positive rate of 3.7% during September. This compares to a long-term annual growth rate of 3%, the same as the 30-year average annual growth rate of the industry's gross domestic product.

Compiled by Patrick Mayock.

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