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Trends Southeast Destination Lodging Continues to Benefit from High Occupancy

photo of the author Katie Barnes

According to the most recent aggregated data released by Inntopia in their monthly DestiMetrics Market Briefing, as of Nov. 30, participating southeast destinations are recovering nicely from the season of storms with improving strength in both occupancy and revenues. For the month of November, actual occupancy was up a sharp 8.9 percent, which offset the 2.9 percent dip in the Average Daily Rate (ADR). As a result, aggregated revenues for the month were up 5.6 percent compared to November 2016.

DestiMetrics delivers forward-looking reservation activity information to participating properties and organizations with individualized reports and aggregated averages for lodging properties and destination marketing organizations. Information in the Monthly Market Briefing is designed to assist with budgeting, staffing, and marketing for participating destinations based on reservation activity for one to six months in advance.

“November was the first month in some time where many southeast regions were not significantly impacted by a natural disaster,” explained Tom Foley, vice president of Business Intelligence for Inntopia and the author of the Briefing that tracks booking data and patterns at seven southeastern destinations in four states. “As tourism-based business have been recovering from the physical damage of the storms, they have also been combining rate incentives and positive messages to overcome some of the negative storm publicity– and that strategy appears to be working very well for the remainder of the winter season.”

The Briefing reported that as of Nov. 30, occupancy for the six months of the winter season from November through April is up 12.3 percent compared to the same time last year with increases in five of the six months–only April showing a slight decline. The healthy boost in bookings is being driven by lower rates with the ADR for the winter down an aggregated 3.2 percent although February and March are showing increases in rate compared to last winter. The combination of lower rates with increased occupancy is delivering an 8.6 percent increase in winter season revenues compared to last year.

“A month ago we reported the gains in occupancy but noted that lower rates were behind the uptick,” continued Foley. “The shift in the past 30 days though is showing that as storm news fades and economic conditions remain optimistic, typical market forces are coming back into play and we are gradually seeing a return to more normal room rates.”

Once again, strong economic metrics are getting some of the credit for the growth in occupancy and revenue gains. The Dow Jones Industrial Average soared to its seventh consecutive all-time monthly record by gaining 3.8 percent to close at 24,272.3 on Nov. 30 for the highest single day closing in history. The consumer market followed the financial news, with the Consumer Confidence Index gaining 2.6 percent to reach 129.5 points and its highest level since November 2000. Employers added another 228,000 jobs during November spurred by positive economic news and consumer’s reaction. The Unemployment Rate remained unchanged at 4.1 percent.

“The tactical rate plan being implemented by participating lodging properties in the Southeast is paying dividends in the form of both increased occupancy and revenue gains for most of the winter season,” confirmed Foley. “Those daily rates started dropping back in September and consumers responded enthusiastically and the pattern persisted through November. These incentives are definitely helping to build the ‘off season’ winter business while strengthening these resort’s position as an attractive destination on a year-round basis.”

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