At the close of 2021’s second quarter, analysts at Lodging Econometrics (LE) report that the total U.S. construction pipeline stands at 4,787 projects/598,111 rooms, down 14 percent year-over-year (YOY) by projects from Q2 2020’s 5,582 projects/687,801 rooms. This decline in pipeline totals YOY is largely a result of projects that were delayed in the under construction phase of the pipeline as a result of COVID-19, now having exited the pipeline and opened.
During the first and second quarters of 2021, the U.S. opened 472 new hotels with 59,034 rooms. LE is forecasting another 450 projects/51,754 rooms to open during 2021 for a total of 922 projects/110,788 rooms by year-end. This will represent a 2.0 percent increase in new supply for 2021. There are 1,008 projects/113,871 rooms expected to open in 2022, representing a 2.0 percent increase in new supply for 2022. And, announcing for the first time this quarter is LE’s forecast for 2023, in which LE is expecting 997 projects/115,271 rooms to open. This is again a 2.0 percent increase in new supply.
Following a nearly 16-month hiatus related to COVID-19 shutdowns, the first half of 2021 saw a substantial uptick in hotel bookings and travel reservation numbers. As vaccination rates rise and travel restrictions ease, consumer confidence continues to increase, and booking numbers move toward pre-pandemic levels. As demand increases, new hotel project announcements will soon follow. There were a total of 372 new projects accounting for 45,084 rooms announced into the pipeline in the first half of 2021. Of those totals, 202 new project announcements with 25,653 rooms occurred in the second quarter. The arrival of summer, a rebounding demand for domestic business and leisure travel, combined with the recent pledge from the U.S. Department of Commerce to invest $750 million in the travel and tourism industries, has investors and developers feeling increasingly optimistic. This confidence has resulted in a 20 percent increase in new project announcements in Q2 2021 when compared to the second quarter of 2020 when 169 projects/20,359 rooms were recorded.
Projects currently under construction stand at 1,165 projects/159,581 rooms. Projects scheduled to start construction in the next 12 months total 1,843 projects/213,744 rooms. Projects in the early planning stage saw a 25 percent increase in projects and a 28 percent increase in rooms YOY, standing at 1,779 projects/224,786 rooms. The increase in projects in the early planning stage reflects a combination of developer’s confidence to initiate new construction projects and the recalibration of some of their timelines for existing projects.
As COVID-19 safety guidelines and restrictions evolve across the country and in anticipation of international travel bans being lifted, more hotels are reestablishing renovation plans and/or are repositioning their properties with a brand conversion. In the first half of 2021, experts at Lodging Econometrics recorded 1,152 active renovation projects/238,110 rooms and 1,181 active conversion projects/128,810 rooms throughout the United States.