PKF Lodging Forecast Remains Strong

July 5, 2012

According to the recently released June 2012 edition of Hotel Horizons®, PKF Hospitality Research, LLC (PKF-HR) is projecting RevPAR for U.S. hotels will increase by 5.8 percent in 2012, and another 6.6 percent in 2013. These forecasts are identical to the RevPAR forecasts presented in the March 2012 edition of Hotel Horizons.

PKF-HR affirms its strong forecasts of RevPAR growth for the nation’s lodging industry despite news that will likely influence the short-term economic performance of the U.S. economy.

Sluggish job growth and economic chaos in Europe have been in the news for a while, and despite these conditions, the performance of the U.S. lodging market during the first quarter of 2012 was just as strong as their original forecast.

The 2012 annual RevPAR growth forecast of 5.8 percent is the result of a projected 1.6 percent increase in occupancy and a 4.1 percent gain in average daily rate (ADR).

PKF-HR is forecasting average quarterly RevPAR gains of 4.9 percent during the second half of 2012. This is less than the estimated 6.9 percent RevPAR growth enjoyed during the first six months of the year.

One of many economic measures monitored by PKF-HR is The Conference Board’s Leading Economic Index® (LEI).  The firm believes there is a six to eight month lag between changes in the LEI and movements in lodging demand. The decline in the LEI observed during the last quarter of 2011 suggested a softening in the demand for hotel rooms during the third quarter of 2012. However, the LEI bounced back during the first half of 2012, thus perpetuating our optimism for 2013.

PKF-HR is now projecting more robust ADR growth in future years.  From 2014 through 2016, the firm has increased their annual ADR growth rates by an average of 150 basis points. The solid growth in lodging demand exhibited in 2010 and 2011, combined with limited increases in hotel supply, will serve as the base for above long-run average occupancy levels from 2013 and beyond. As a result, hotel managers should be able to leverage these market conditions and raise room rates.

In 2012, 29 of the 50 Hotel Horizons® markets are expected to achieve occupancy levels above their long-run average. With demand growth forecast to continue to rise greater than supply in most cities over the next two years, 42 of the 50 markets are projected to exceed their long-run average occupancy levels by 2014.

Previous research conducted by PKF-HR has found that profit growth is greatest for hotels when revenue gains are driven by increases in ADR.

Luxury and upper-upscale properties achieved the greatest gains in RevPAR during the initial stages of the industry recovery; however, going forward, PKF-HR believes the greatest gains in annual performance will shift to the more moderate-priced segments.

In addition to mid-priced properties, hotel markets in the mid-section of the nation are starting to participate in the recovery. The cities of Nashville, Houston, New Orleans and Salt Lake City are forecast to experience the greatest gains in demand in 2012. The early stages of the U.S. lodging industry recovery favored the large gateway markets. The return of demand to cities in the nation’s midsection is a sign that the recovery is expanding beyond the Atlantic and Pacific coasts.

Posted by Scott R. Lodde

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