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Mapping RevPAR performance: Time-lapsed series
February 6 2012

A time-lapsed video of color-coded RevPAR changes by STR tract shows shifts in regional U.S. performance.

  • Featuring color-coded images, the video shows the 12-month moving average change for RevPAR by STR tract.
  • By mid-2009, despite some areas showing slight recovery, most of the country worsened.
  • While growth still is positive, lagging rate growth and slightly softening demand growth have slowed the overall acceleration out of the recession.
By Carter Wilson
Director, STR Analytics

BOULDER, Colorado—Back in July 2010, we presented a time-lapse series of revenue-per-available-room performance. In that article, we used GIS software to understand the nature of fundamental shifts in our industry as hotels worked their way through the toughest period ever seen.

Now, with year-end 2011 data available, we wanted to update this time-lapsed series to see where the industry is today.

We've created a time-lapsed series from January 2007 through December 2011. In the video below, we have color-coded the 12-month moving average change for RevPAR by STR tract. Since it's a moving average, there aren't huge swings on a month-to-month basis, and most shifts occur in the -2% to 2% range. Anything shaded orange or red represents a decline (with red being the larger decline), and anything shaded green or purple represents increases (purple being the larger increase). Once again, we apologize to Alaska and Hawaii for not showing their performance due to space constraints. 

In 2007, much of the country was awash in green and purple, but this begins to shift in late-2007. By the end of 2008, most of the country is orange, with only a few pockets of green and virtually no purple except some areas around the Gulf. By mid-2009, despite some areas showing slight recovery, most of the country worsened, with many areas shifting from orange to red. It isn't until February 2010 that you can see positive (green) growth for a large portion of the country, with each month after that showing improvement.

By July of 2011, most of the country is experiencing positive RevPAR gain, with some areas experiencing strong growth (indicated in purple), predominantly fueled by demand growth. By 2011, notice how North Dakota and areas of Texas remain purple, indicating continuous moving average growth; this illustrates the impact of oil booms in these area. Meanwhile, as the year progresses, total moving growth starts to drop in many other areas of the county. While growth still is positive, lagging rate growth and slightly softening demand growth slow the overall acceleration out of the recession.

Using GIS software to show shifts in performance only is one potential application. By marrying STR's incomparable census and performance database to any number of geographic or demographic indicators (population, land use, land cost, etc.), mapping can assist in answering questions that have, until now, remained either unanswered or unasked.


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