Hotel Online  Special Report

Highlights and Predictions from the 2004
AH&LA U.S. Lodging Summit
Washington, May 14, 2004—Participants of the first American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA) U.S. Lodging Industry Summit, collectively expressed encouraging predictions for the rebounding U.S. travel and hotel industries.  The one-day national conference — held on May 11 at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. — offered forecast information on key industry sectors to help hoteliers plan strategies as well as assist consumers make cost-saving travel decisions for the year.

Recognized leaders in their disciplines, the contributors provided a wealth of cutting-edge data unavailable jointly anywhere else.  Contributors included Pat Ford, president, Lodging Econometrics; Bjorn Hanson, group industry leader, hospitality and leisure practice, PricewaterhouseCoopers International Ltd.; Mark Lomanno, president, Smith Travel Research; Doug Shifflet, president and CEO, D.K. Shifflet and Associates; Philip Wolf, president and CEO, PhoCusWright Inc.; and Peter Yesawich, managing partner, Yesawich, Pepperdine, Brown & Russell.

Following are highlights and predictions from the 2004 AH&LA U.S. Lodging Summit:

Travel research and booking through the Internet is increasingly being utilized by consumers.  The total effect of online hotel bookings will increase by 30 percent from $1.27 billion in 2003 to $1.66 billion in 2005.
Average daily rooms sold will increase to 4.5 percent in 2004 from 1.6 percent in 2003.
Occupancy will increase from 59.2 percent in 2003 to 60.8 percent in 2004.  The average daily rate of a hotel room will also rise from $83.12 (0.1%) in 2003 to $85.11 (2.4%) in 2004.  Additionally, total demand will hit a record level that will force increased occupancy.
Generation X (adults ages 24–38) is rapidly approaching Baby Boomers (adults ages 39–58) in travel spending.
New construction and re-flagging by leading hotel companies will increase to a total of 165,138 properties (3.4%) in 2004 — representing 56.5 percent of the lodging industry.
Leisure and unmanaged business revenue (excluding corporate) is estimated to earn $45.9 billion in 2004 and reach $52.5 billion by 2006.
Travelers taking at least one or more business trips are expected to increase to 33 percent in 2004 from 32 percent in 2003.  While, 92 percent of Americans taking at least one or more leisure travel, remaining the same from 2003 to 2004.
Personal automobiles remain the top mode of transportation in 2004 (78%) compared to 2003 (81%).
Thirty-seven percent of consumers expressed that the current economic conditions make it difficult to travel, eclipsing security concerns immediately following Sept. 11, 2001. 
The top five leisure destinations for 2004 include: Florida (39%), California (36%), Hawaii (21%), New York (18%), and Colorado (16%).

In addition, the panelists noted other contributing factors possibly affecting the future of the U.S. travel and tourism industry such as American military activities in Iraq.  With current overseas actions, consumer reactions may include postponement or cancellation of both business and leisure trips, reluctance to travel longer distances, and shortening hotel length of stay.

Moderated by financial luminary Peter Krause, managing director and founding director of Greenhill & Company, LLC, the summit was held in commemoration of the 21st Annual National Tourism Week (May 8–16).  A similar educational session, featuring most of the summit panelists, will take place on Saturday, Nov. 13, during the AH&LA Fall Conference and International Hotel/Motel & Restaurant Show (IH/M&RS), Nov. 12–16, in New York City.

AH&LA is a 94-year-old dual membership association of state and city partner lodging associations throughout the United States with some 11,000 property members nationwide, representing more than 1.5 million guest rooms. 


Tia T. Gordon

Also See: Hotelier’s 2004 Top Ten Internet Strategy Resolutions / Max Starkov & Jason Price / January 2004
Hospitality Industry: Top 10 Thoughts for 2004 / Ernst & Young / January 2004

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