Finance & DevelopmentSTR and Tourism Economics Upgrade 2021 U.S. Hotel Forecast, Lessen Growth Projections...

STR and Tourism Economics Upgrade 2021 U.S. Hotel Forecast, Lessen Growth Projections for 2022

NASHVILLE — Just released at the 13th Annual Hotel Data Conference, STR and Tourism Economics have upgraded the U.S. hotel forecast for 2021 as a whole and lessened growth projections for 2022. Additionally, full recovery of demand remains on the same timeline for 2023, while revenue per available room (RevPAR) is projected to surpass 2019 levels in 2024.

“Rather than improved expectations for the coming months, our upward revision for 2021 more reflects the surge in demand that has already occurred as well as room rates hitting an all-time high on a nominal basis,” said Amanda Hite, STR’s president. “As we have maintained, there is concern once the summer officially wraps up and the industry loses what has been its primary demand source. In normal years, summer leisure demand would be supplanted by business travel and large corporate events, but with more concern around the Delta variant as well as delays in companies returning their employees to offices, it’s possible that businesses wait until early 2022 to put their people back on the road. Even though we expect some of that demand to shift into 2022, we brought our projections down in comparison with a stronger-than-expected 2021. Overall, our full recovery projections remain similar with 2023 into 2024 as the ‘finish line.’ In the meantime, recovery is uneven with some leisure-driven markets ahead of where they were pre-pandemic and most of the major markets still well off the pace. Add in staffing challenges in a lot of markets and the situation is still quite difficult for a lot of the country even though there is optimism for the years ahead.”

“The economic recovery has considerable momentum, underpinned by quite strong consumer demand and ongoing fiscal stimulus,” said Aran Ryan, Tourism Economics director. “Though it is challenging to look through the current virus wave, we expect as public health conditions stabilize, the recovery in leisure travel demand will remain intact and the corporate travel recovery will resume its climb later this year.”

Overall, for 2021, the forecast calls for U.S. hotel industry occupancy of 54.7 percent, average daily rate (ADR) of $115.50, and revenue per available room (RevPAR) of $63.16. The occupancy and RevPAR figures use STR’s total-room-inventory (TRI) methodology, which assumes no closures due to the pandemic. In 2019, the recovery benchmark, (66 percent), ADR ($130.91) and RevPAR ($86.35) were all at or near all-time highs.

For 2021, Norfolk/Virginia Beach and Miami are the only Top 25 Markets predicted to beat their 2019 RevPAR levels—more so because of ADR rather than occupancy. According to the forecast, San Francisco, New York City, and Boston are expected to be the furthest from their 2019 levels in the metric.