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News Southeast: Lodging Looking Strong For Remainder of Summer

photo of the author Jane Babilon

The Highlights:

  • As of May 31, actual results for the month in a year-over-year comparison to last May
    • Aggregated actual occupancy for May was up 8.4 percent
    • Average Daily Rate (ADR) was up five percent
    • Revenues were up a dramatic 13.8 percent
  • As of May 31, for the six-month summer season from March through August using on-the-books figures in a year-over-year comparison to the same time last year:
    • Occupancy is up 5.6 percent
    • ADR is up 2 percent
    • Revenues are up 13.8 percent
  • May Booking Pace
    • Bookings made in May for arrival in May were up a whopping 51.3 percent compared to last year
    • Bookings for May through October are up 18.5 percent
    • The only summer month showing a decline was September—down 5.3 percent

Analysis from Tom Foley:

“Southeast destinations are in a good position for the remainder of the summer season with a strong base of transactions already in-the-bank or on-the books,” continued Foley. “The undeniably robust booking rate in May adds further encouragement, but for the first time in recent years, consumers are starting to resist climbing rates and we recognize that strategic rate management will be the key to keeping visitors coming for the remainder of the summer,” he concluded.

The Full Release:

DENVER, COLO., June 18, 2019— Southeast destination resorts in five states are going from strength to strength after nearly nine months of atypical occupancy and daily rates figures following last year’s tempestuous storm season and recovery. With the first half of the summer now completed, 85.1 percent of all visitor nights posted in the summer of 2018 have already been taken, or are on-the-books. This is significantly higher than last year at this time according to the most recent DestiMetrics Market Briefing released yesterday by Inntopia.

The month of May showed significant growth over last year as of May 31. Actual occupancy was up a notable 8.4 percent compared to last May and when coupled with the five percent increase in the Average Daily Rate (ADR), delivered an aggregated 13.8 percent jump in revenues for the month.

The second half of the full summer season that extends from March through August looks equally promising with steady growth in occupancy and stable rates. As of May 31, aggregated occupancy is up 5.6 percent with increases in all six months. Although the ADR is up only a slight two percent, when combined with growth in occupancy, revenues are up a strong 13.8 percent for the full summer compared to last year at this time.

The booking pace for the month of May clearly elevated the summer figures. Bookings made in May for arrivals in May through October are up a robust 18.5 percent compared to last May’s booking pace. Most striking was the “last minute” bookings made during the month of May for arrivals in the month—up a whopping 51.3 percent in a year-over-year comparison. The only month showing a decline was September, which is down 5.3 percent.

“This healthy growth in occupancy supported by strategic rate management is certainly good news from most of the region which has now moved past last year’s storms and recovery,” reported Tom Foley, senior vice president for Business Operations and Analytics for Inntopia. “However, optimistic as we are about this year’s bookings, we are also tracking changes in consumer behavior across the entire destination travel industry, including the Southeast. Some cracks in the financial and employment markets are showing up and we’ve been noting some consumer resistance to increasing rates for the past several months.”

The economy delivered mixed results in May. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) dropped sharply in May and lost 5.8 percent of its value. This was the second monthly decline in the past three months. However, it remains 1.7 percent higher than last year at this time. Despite the drop in the DJIA, the Consumer Confidence Index (CCI) gained 4.9 points that nearly matched the April increase. At 134.1 points, the CCI is at its highest level since November 2018 and very close to record highs posted in the winter of 1999-2000. The Unemployment Rate remained at 3.6 percent during May but employers only added an anemic 75,000 new jobs which was well below expectations. Also new job growth figures for both March and April were adjusted down from initial reports.

“Although the adjusted job creation figures for the past four months are at a respectable average of 151,000 per month, it does represent a significant decline from the previous four-month average of 247,000,” cautioned Foley.

 “Southeast destinations are in a good position for the remainder of the summer season with a strong base of transactions already in-the-bank or on-the books,” continued Foley. “The undeniably robust booking rate in May adds further encouragement, but for the first time in recent years, consumers are starting to resist climbing rates and we recognize that strategic rate management will be the key to keeping visitors coming for the remainder of the summer,” he concluded.

*DestiMetrics, part of the Business Intelligence platform for Stowe-based Inntopia, tracks resort performance in selected mountain and southeast U.S. destinations. They compile forward-looking reservation data each month and provide individualized and aggregated results to subscribers at participating resorts. Data from the Southeast is derived from nine resort destinations in five states including South Carolina, Virginia, Georgia, Florida, and Alabama.  

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