ATLANTA — The North American hotel market continues its steady climb out of the economic slump of the past five years, according to research presented at the first Association of Starwood Franchisees & Owners – North America Associate Board Members meeting of 2012. The meeting, which was held at The St. Regis Atlanta in mid-January, was attended by a number of Starwood senior corporate management, together with hotel owners, franchisees and hotel management company executives, as well as ASFONA associate members representing some of the most highly respected suppliers to the hotel industry.
Bobby Bowers, vice president of operations for STR, opened the meeting with an overview of the North American lodging industry, including data tracking market conditions over the past 5 years, with a specific focus on the top 15 markets in the U.S.A. The research showed improved industry REVPAR growth in the U.S., which experienced an 8.2% gain in 2011, up from 5.5% in 2010. Other positive indicators in the U.S. market in 2011 included a 3.7% gain in ADR.
ASFONA’s Owner Board Members confirmed these industry findings, reporting that owners, franchisees and hotel management companies with Starwood brands in North America experienced impressive REVPAR and occupancy growth in 2011.
“Hotels with Starwood brands have shown excellent results overall and will continue to benefit from the strength and support of one of the world’s leading hotel organizations. With steady market improvement annually over the past several years, the hotel industry is on a positive trajectory and although some economic challenges do continue, there are enough indicators to be extremely optimistic for healthy industry growth in North America for 2012,” said John Shingler, ASFONA president.
Additional presentations by senior Starwood brand management executives at the meeting demonstrated the strength and excellence of each of Starwood’s nine global brands, including their respective target market demographics, design rationale, guest preferences and unique characteristics of each brand within the portfolio. In addition Starwood’s chief global supply chain officer provided the group with remarkable insight into the strategy associated with managing the organization’s global procurement operation.
ASFONA’s philanthropic initiatives were also apparent, as Pam Landwirth of Give Kids the World and John Belden, CEO of Davidson Hotels & Resorts, teamed up to enlist the support of the board members to raise funds for renovations needed at the 70-acre Central Florida resort village dedicated to granting the wishes of children with life-threatening illnesses.
On the second day of the meeting, attendees heard an informative presentation on the global cotton market, which explained the factors leading to volatility in linen prices, its impact on the hotel industry, and possible strategies to control costs and maximize guest satisfaction. A round table discussion by ASFONA’s honorary board members and suppliers concluded the session.
“Through relationships with our Associate Members, the ASFONA Owners Board of Directors continues to secure pertinent new industry and marketplace information to provide its members with enhanced industry knowledge that can help them create additional operational efficiencies,” stated Shingler.
For more information on ASFONA, including the 2012 ‘Areas of Focus’ to be addressed with Starwood, please see News Updates and Board Projects at www.asfona.com.