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5 things to know: 10 January 2012
January 10 2012

• U.S. holiday week data shows winners and losers;
• ILIA aims to level the playing field for independents;
• U.S. hotel business activity slows in December;
• TripAdvisor abandons dirtiest hotel list; and
• natural resource fuels Pennsylvania hotel industry.

Which segments of the U.S. hotel industry celebrated the holidays with joy and cheer and which were Scrooged?’s Jason Q. Freed delves into the data to reveal these and other interesting facts about the holiday week between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve.

Generally speaking, Christmas Eve isn’t very kind to hotels. Reported occupancy in the United States on 24 December was 35%, average daily rate was US$95.29 and revenue per available room was US$33.34.

Performance on New Year’s Eve is a different story. It’s a popular night for hotel stays, and many cities reaped the benefits. Occupancy in the U.S. on 31 December was 64.8%, ADR was US$124.30 and RevPAR was US$80.58.

Of the top 25 markets: Oahu, Hawaii, and New York reported some impressive results.

The creation of the Independent Lodging Industry Association might have leveled the playing field for independent properties when it comes to competing with the big brands, reports’s Alissa Ponchione.

Because independent hoteliers’ problems differ from larger chains, ILIA’s main objective is to help hotel owners who lack the resources deal with the myriad of local, state and federal issues that come up.

John Manderfield, president of the California Lodging Industry Association, Marin Management and a member of ILIA’s board of directors, said the creation of the national organization is imperative in tackling state and federal issues.

“The challenges are many and all of the same challenges that exist for any smaller business, then add tourism development, increased regulations specific to the lodging industry, issues related to online travel agencies and how they’re regulated, as well as taxes and how they support the travel industry; (the challenges) are substantial,” Manderfield said.

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Business activity in the U.S. hotel industry continued to slow during the month of December, according to’s Hotel Industry Pulse index, which gauges monthly overall business conditions.

HIP's six-month growth rate, which has historically confirmed the turning points in U.S. hotel business activity, had a positive rate of 1.3% in December following a positive rate of 2.4% in November. 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.

Good news for some of the world’s most disgusting hotels: Online review site TripAdvisor has abandoned its annual list of the dirtiest hotels, previously a permanent January fixture that generated oodles of publicity and left offending hoteliers shaking in their grimy, dirt-stained offices.

“We want to stay more on the positive side, so we’ll continue to feature the best destinations, the top hotels,” Stephen Kaufer, the site’s chief executive, told The New York Times. “We’re slicing and dicing the ‘best of’ in different ways this year, more than focusing on the negative.” 

Hotels in northeastern Pennsylvania bucked national trends during the recession, fueled by … well … fuel. “The remarkable RevPAR growth observed in northeastern Pennsylvania is largely attributable to the exploitation of an old resource through the birth of a new industry: natural gas extraction from the Marcellus Shale,” said Tony Biddle, senior consultant in the Philadelphia office of PKF Consulting USA in a recent report.

During the period of 2007 through 2011, RevPAR for hotels located in the Pennsylvania counties of Bradford, Lycoming, Susquehanna and Tioga grew at an estimated average annual rate of 14.8%. This compares to the 1.7% average annual decline in RevPAR experienced by the overall U.S. hotel industry during the same timeframe.

Compiled by Patrick Mayock.

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