Compared with March 2015, the U.S. hotel industry’s occupancy was nearly flat (-0.4% to 66.4%). However, average daily rate for the month was up 3.2% to US$124.37, and revenue per available room increased 2.7% to US$82.60.
“After talking about the Easter shift and the corresponding softness in RevPAR, it finally happened,” said Jan Freitag, STR’s senior VP for lodging insights. “But RevPAR was up 2.7%, and given that we started the year with +2.4% and +2.8% in January and February, respectively, the March data was really not that bad. Or maybe the data was only as bad as expected and not worse. Hitting expectations and not underperforming them is a good thing these days. Obviously, business travelers stayed away from the Easter weekend and group occupancy was down 9.6%.”
Freitag also noted that RevPAR has now grown year over year for 73 consecutive months and that demand hit an all-time high for March with more than 1.2 million roomnights sold.
Among the Top 25 Markets, Norfolk/Virginia Beach, Virginia, recorded the only double-digit increase in occupancy (+10.5% to 58.7%) as well as the largest year-over-year increase in RevPAR (+17.5% to US$48.55). ADR in the market was up 6.3% to US$82.77.
Los Angeles/Long Beach, California, posted the only double-digit rise in ADR (+12.2% to US$172.01) and was the only other market to see double-digit RevPAR growth (+16.5% to US$147.17).
Overall, 16 of the Top 25 Markets reported an increase in RevPAR for the month.
Houston, Texas, experienced the steepest decline in occupancy (-9.6% to 69.2%) and the only double-digit drop in RevPAR (-10.7% to US$77.16). ADR in the market was down 1.3% to US$111.47.
Of the six markets to report a drop in ADR for the month, New Orleans, Louisiana (-2.4% to US$156.65), and Chicago, Illinois (-2.0% to US$121.98), reported the largest decreases in the metric.
“It is worth pointing out that supply growth in the Top 25 Markets was +1.5%, so 50% higher than the rest of the U.S. (+1.0%),” Freitag said. “Demand grew 1.9% in the larger metros, and 11 of the Top 25 Markets had occupancies above 80%. Despite the large influx of rooms, the larger cities seem to be able to hold performance quite well, and their ADR increased 3.6%. This increase is much healthier than the rest of the U.S., where ADRs only increased 2.8%.”