The upper-tier hotels reported the largest increases during April 2012, according to data from STR, parent company of HotelNewsNow.com.
Overall, the U.S. hotel industry’s occupancy rose 1.4% to 61.8%, its average daily rate was up 5% to $105.71 and its revenue per available room increased 6.4% to $65.34.
Among the chain-scale segments, the luxury segment reported the largest increases in all three metrics. The luxury segment reported occupancy increases of 3.8% to 76.4%; ADR increases of 6.5% to $280.75; and RevPAR increases of 10.6% to $214.49.
Among the top 25 markets, Houston rose 6.7% in occupancy to 68%, reporting the largest increase in that metric; New Orleans led in ADR increases (+11.6% to $154); and Chicago jumped 16.8% in RevPAR to $79.50, reporting the largest increase in that metric.
The Department of Justice last week announced a postponement of the Americans with Disabilities Act compliance date for existing pools and spas with ADA requirements for accessible entries. The new compliance date–31 January 2013–is an additional nine months beyond the original date of 15 March 2012.
DOJ found the delay will allow the Department to “continue to educate covered entities about their obligations under the 2010 Standards … and to address misunderstandings that could lead covered entities to take unnecessary and counterproductive steps.” The DOJ received more than 1,400 comments urging additional time to comply with this requirement outweighing the nearly 500 comments opposing any extension.
The announcement by DOJ does not change the substance of DOJ’s “fixed” lift requirement, according to the American Hotel & Lodging Association. In retaining this requirement, DOJ did not address concerns raised by the AH&LA and the hotel industry such as the increased liability associated with making lifts permanently available when lifeguards are not present, sharing of lifts between multiple pools and spas, or the extensive construction and electrical bonding work needed to install fixed lifts.
Gaylord Entertainment Company’s controversial proposed 1,500-room hotel in Aurora, Colorado, cleared a major hurdle Friday, according to the Denver Post.
The project was one of two approved by the Colorado Economic Development Commission for tourism-related tax incentives. The commission approved an $81.4-million incentive package over 30 years. The company had requested $153.4 million, and Gaylord officials said they would not do the project without the entire amount.
But in a statement Friday, Gaylord president and CEO Colin Reed said he is looking forward to negotiating a deal with the state during the next four months. Aurora has agreed to provide up to $300 million in incentives for the project. It cannot make up the $72 million difference between what the commission awarded and what was requested, said Aurora Economic Development Council president Wendy Mitchell.
Critics of state funding for Gaylord said the project could harm downtown Denver's convention and hotel business.
Twenty-eight percent of U.S. online travelers—34.3 million people—are somewhat or extremely likely to take a Memorial Day weekend trip, according to a study from Atmosphere Research Group.
Of these likely holiday travelers, most will be traveling with others. Only 17% plan to travel alone; 35%are planning to travel with one other person, but 1 in 10 say they’ll be traveling with five or more people. Atmosphere estimates U.S. online travelers and their friends and families traveling with them over the holiday weekend will be more than 78 million people.
More highlights from the study:
- Holiday weekend travel spending should be slightly higher than 2011 levels. Memorial Day travelers tell Atmosphere they expect to spend, on average, $677 for their transportation, hotel, rental cars and attraction tickets.
- Most, but not all, will stay away from home at least one night. Fifteen percent are planning an overnight trip, 26% are planning two-night escapes, 16% are planning to stay away for three nights and 14% are planning trips of four or more nights.
- Travelers are considering other hotel options. Though 39% of likely Memorial Day travelers are planning to stay at hotels, motels and bed-and-breakfasts, almost as many (37%) are planning to stay with friends and family.
Increasing consumer confidence in the U.S., moderating gasoline price increases and the release of pent up demand for vacations will likely lead to an extremely busy summer travel season, according to a trend report from Chris McGinnis on Best Western International’s YouMustBeTrippin.com.
Best Western’s advance bookings in the U.S. for June, July and August are up 22% compared to this time last year. In addition, advance summer bookings at its roadside hotels are up 17.6%, which means higher gasoline prices are having little impact on summer driving plans. At Best Western hotels in resort areas, bookings are up 28.7%, indicating very strong demand for summer vacations.
While demand for hotels is increasing, average rates have only crept up marginally, McGinnis reported. For example, Best Western's average daily rate this summer is 3.1% higher than last summer. Hotel rates in large coastal cities in the U.S., such as Boston; New York; Washington D.C.; San Francisco; and Seattle are rising fastest. Rates in smaller, interior U.S. cities remain about the same as this time last year.
Compiled by Jason Q. Freed.