OCCUPANCY FOR U.S. hotels is now expected to finish the year a little down from the previous forecast by STR and Tourism Economics. However, projections for ADR and RevPAR recovery remain on track in the data firms’ final forecast of the year.
RevPAR is still expected to fully recover this year on a nominal basis, but not until 2025 when adjusted for inflation, according to the new forecast. The updated forecast lowered occupancy by less than a percentage point for 2022, standing now at 62.7 percent compared to the previously forecasted 63 percent released in August.
“As expected, group business travel has been much more aligned with pre-pandemic patterns, specifically in October when group demand hit a pandemic-era high,” said Amanda Hite, STR president. “Leisure travel has maintained its strength since our previous forecast update, and we expect these strong demand trends in both group and leisure to continue through the fourth quarter. Bottom-line performance has also persisted, with our most recent data showing strong profit margins due to lower employment levels and reduced services. The challenges around labor continue to be a concern, as high levels of hospitality unemployment and more spending on contract labor are pushing labor costs on a per-available-room basis above 2019 levels. We continue to take inflation and the likely recession into consideration, but the hotel industry has continued to show resilience through these tougher times, thus the steadiness of our updated forecast.”
There remains some concern about the health of the overall economy, said Aran Ryan, TE’s director of industry studies.
“Oxford Economics anticipates a mild recession in the first half of 2023, as higher interest rates and inflation curtail real consumer spending and business investment,” Ryan said. “Weaker economic momentum will temper the travel recovery, but we anticipate the rebuilding of business travel and the ongoing prioritization of leisure travel to support continued lodging demand growth next year.”