Despite the fact that forecasting lodging performance is difficult in even the most stable of times, we at STR have decided to not only update our current Total U.S. Lodging Forecast, but to do so monthly from now on. As most of the inputs into lodging models both internal and external to the industry are available and updated monthly, we believe those who work in and follow the industry should be using the latest data to help anticipate the future.
Why update regularly?
As I see it, there are two problems with most forecasts. First, they too often focus on year-end results, which if you really think about it is just a point in time. This kind of focus tends to hide all the variability and nuance that signal changes to a directional shift in performance. I suspect that if compensation, bonuses, et cetera, were not based on year-end results, then many might take a different view of the relevance of year-end 2009 or 2010 forecasts.
The second problem is that they are not on a schedule. STR, as well as the other industry prognosticators, tend to be a bit haphazard with the timing and release of forecasts currently.
Therefore, beginning in June, STR is going to begin doing monthly U.S. lodging industry forecasts, by month, out to the end of the next calendar year (2010). Initially, that will mean that we will provide the industry with monthly occupancy, room rate and revenue per available room estimates through December 2010. That will give users of this information an opportunity to look at slices of time within years, at their discretion. Whether that is a seasonal look, such as a summer outlook, or three-month or 12-month moving averages, or more traditional time periods like calendar quarters, the data will be available. Regardless of the use, we firmly believe the time is right to do this.
And finally, the one thing regarding these new forecasts that you can be sure of is that they will constantly be changing as the data inputs change. Should be fun for all, so look for the updated forecast every month exclusively on HotelNewsNow.com!