Sporadic Business Demand Increases Booking Competition

NEW YORK—As hoteliers in major North American markets round out 2016 and prepare for the New Year, the pace of new bookings, especially in the industry’s business sector, continues to decline, according to new data from TravelClick’s October 2016 North American Hospitality Review (NAHR). Over the last month, the pace of new bookings overall is down -2.2 percent, and the pace of new group business bookings in particular is down -8.5 percent over the same time last year.

Average daily rates (ADR) and revenue per available room (RevPAR) are showing signs of growth, however, up 0.6 percent and 1.6 percent in the fourth quarter of 2016, respectively, across all travel segments. ADR is also growing in 20 of the top 25 North American markets.

“October’s reservation results reinforce the need for hoteliers to actively compete for new bookings, particularly with business travelers,” said John Hach, TravelClick’s senior industry analyst. “Although booking pace is weakening – driven primarily by a decrease in new group reservations – there is still considerable demand generation that’s occurring within local markets.”

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For the next 12 months (October 2016—September 2017), transient bookings are up 3.2 percent year-over-year, and ADR for this segment is slightly up 1.0 percent. When broken down further, the transient leisure (discount, qualified and wholesale) segment is showing occupancy gains of 5.5 percent, with ADR gains of 1.9 percent. The transient business (negotiated and retail) segment is down -1.9 percent, and ADR is nearly flat at 0.6 percent. Lastly, group bookings are up 2.7 percent in committed room nights over the same time last year, and ADR is up 1.5 percent.

“Reaching occupancy objectives requires hoteliers to actively promote their properties on all discretionary channels,” added Hach. “While year-over-year pace remains positive, October is now the fifth consecutive month with a weakening new reservation pace. There are indications that this emerging trend will continue well into the upcoming year, which reinforces the need for hoteliers to engage in proactive marketing initiatives moving forward.”

The October NAHR looks at group sales commitments and individual reservations in the 25 major North American markets for hotel stays that are booked by Oct. 1, 2016, from the period of October 2016 to September 2017