A sold-out crowd of 515 attendees at the Omni Nashville heard from a conference-first, C-Suite-comprised panel as well as presentations on the overall economy and performance of the hotel industry.
There are “a ton of reasons to feel continually good,” and “we’ve got a long ways to go in the cycle” were sentiments shared by Thomas Corcoran, chairman of FelCor Lodging Trust.
Corcoran was joined in a panel titled “Hitting the high notes: An industry on the move” by Jim Abrahamson, CEO of Interstate Hotels & Resorts; Jim Holthouser, executive VP for global brands at Hilton Worldwide; and Randy Smith, STR’s chairman and co-founder.
Smith said that “our best times are still in front of us” even though all of the key performance metrics are at record levels. Smith also expects the industry to continue to set records and perform well through 2016.
Abrahamson cited “strength across all sectors,” and Holthouser used the word “understated” when speaking on the potential health of the U.S. economy.
Adam Sacks, president of Tourism Economics, spoke on the overall economy and called the past five years a “veritable party for this industry.” According to Sacks, the recovery of the U.S. economy has become broad-based, and consumer spending on lodging is up 25% over the past three years.
Steve Hennis, director at STR Analytics, talked about the record occupancy level in the U.S. According to Hennis, 49 of STR’s markets are at record occupancy levels. He also said the number of occupied room nights in the U.S. has increased 3.3% year to date and is 14.3% above the 2007 peak. Meanwhile, 95% of the U.S. markets have experienced average-daily-rate gains during 2015.
The 2015 Hotel Data Conference features nearly 100 speakers in 18 panel discussions and 24 presentation sessions presenting more than 30 hours of data and statistical analysis. The conference will wrap up Thursday, 6 August with a look at industry forecasts and the effects of other industries on hotels.