Hotel booking demands, Internet charges and Business travel growth

Maritim Park Hotel in Mannheim

More Hotels Charge for Internet Access
More hotels are charging guests for Internet access and to use the gym, but more are offering free breakfasts, according to a survey conducted by the American Hotel & Lodging Association with hospitality research company STR. 23% of properties now charge for in room Internet service, up 8% from 2008.

Luxury and upper upscale are more likely to charge for Internet service. 25% of hotels now charge to use the gym, up from 21% in 2010.

However, 79% of hotels now offer free breakfast. Most mid-tier and midscale hotels offer free breakfast, as do about half of upscale U.S. hotels. (Source: AHLA press release).

US Hotels See Strong Demand for Fall
Hotels in the Americas are doing better than those in other parts of the world, according to STR Global. In the U.S. the average daily rate increased by 3.8% in July with more hotel rooms being sold than in any other month since STR began tracking this data in 1987.

Hotel occupancy in the Americas in general rose to 70%, with rates increasing 3.3%. That made the Americas the only part of the world to show growth for both rates and occupancies. The fall months are strong for meetings and convention business and that is going to stimulate demand, according to Brad Garner, STR´s COO. He predicted a shift towards a seller´s market in 2013.

Separately, PKF Hospitality Research forecast that on an average night this year, nearly 3 million of the nation´s 4.8 million hotel rooms will be occupied, a figure six percent higher than in 2007, the last peak year before the recession hit. (Source: STR, PKF press releases.)

Spotlight On…
      The Fed´s Take on Business Travel

The Federal Reserve Beige Book, published eight times a year and covering current economic conditions throughout the country, finds that business travel growth in some parts of the country is slowing. It’s based on reports from the Fed itself and interviews with key players in each district.

In Boston, the Fed’s tourism contacts said that business travel has fueled travel´s rebound. They expect 2012 will be strong, but will weaken in the second half of the year. Europe´s economic problems could have a negative impact.

  • The Atlanta and Florida districts have seen European business decline, but increases from Central and South America have helped off set those declines.
  • Hotels reported occupancy and rate increases throughout the nation, although that was slowing in some regions. Outside of
  • Washington, D.C., for example, some hotels said that federal budget cuts were having a chilling effect on business.