5 things to know: 3 January 2020
 
5 things to know: 3 January 2020
03 JANUARY 2020 10:20 AM

From the desks of the Hotel News Now editorial staff:

  • Tourism among losses in devastating Australia bushfires
  • Weak growth expected to continue in Q1 for US hotels
  • Group bookings provided performance lift in November
  • Sharp declines across KPIs to close out 2019
  • South Florida preps record price tag for Super Bowl attendees

Tourism among losses in devastating Australia bushfires: As the smoke from massive brushfires continues to shroud entire cities in Australia, tourists are being discouraged from visiting and hotels in Sydney are reporting double-digit declines in bookings, Reuters reports.

News coverage and social media attention around the fires, responsible for at least 10 deaths in the past week, put “a dent in Australia’s reputation as a safe tourist destination … at a time when the economy was already fragile,” said Shane Oliver, chief economist at AMP Capital, a global investment management company based in Sydney.

Reuters reports: “As visitors take to social media to warn others to steer clear, the number of busloads of tourists each day has fallen to about four from 15 or 20, said Stacey Reynolds, a receptionist at the Blue Mountains Backpacker Hostel in Katoomba.”

The Accommodation Association of Australia told the news agency that hotels in Sydney “saw a fall of 10% in guest numbers in December.”

Weak growth expected to continue in Q1 for U.S. hotels: Entering 2020, amid the usual uncertainty of an impending presidential election, top concerns for the U.S. hotel industry center around increasing costs and flat-lining revenues, reports HNN’s Sean McCracken, who spoke with industry data experts and analysts.

Tepid rate growth and slowing demand are expected to contribute to a sub-1%, year-over-year increase in revenue per available room for U.S. hotels in the first quarter, according to STR, parent company of HNN.

CBRE also is projecting “the fourth consecutive quarterly decline in the national occupancy level and the largest such decline … since Q3 2018,” said Mark Woodworth, the firm’s senior managing director and head of lodging research.

Group bookings provided performance lift in November: The latest monthly data available for U.S. hotels shows that for November at least, overall performance was slightly positive, after two consecutive months of declines in RevPAR, STR’s SVP of Lodging Insights Jan Freitag reports for HNN.

A big driver behind this growth was group business, particularly in the San Francisco hotel market, which contributed a 21.5% positive impact to RevPAR, which helped lift the total U.S. by 1.3% in the metric.

Sharp declines across KPIs to close out 2019: However, for the final full week of 2019 (22-28 December), U.S. hotels reported declines across all three key performance metrics, according to data from STR.

Compared with the same week in 2018, the U.S. hotel industry recorded a 4.9% decline in occupancy to 48.5% and a 2.6% decline in average daily rate (to $127.92), which combined for a 7.4% drop in RevPAR to $62, data shows.

The steepest declines were felt by hotels in the Nashville, Tennessee, market, where a 13.6% decline in occupancy and 10.9% decline in ADR pushed RevPAR down 22.9% for the week.

South Florida preps record price tag for Super Bowl attendees: Rates at South Florida hotels are “running about 1.5 times higher” for Super Bowl weekend, compared to the following weekend, and flights will cost “about 50% more,” according to reporting by the Miami Herald, which purports that the professional football championship game “may be the most expensive for visitors yet.”

Citing data from STR, the newspaper reports that the last time South Florida hosted the Super Bowl (in 2010), hotel ADR was $335.46. The Herald’s own search of rates at 10 hotels in the market showed an average of $697.

Compiled by Robert McCune.

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