|By Brook Stockberger, Las Cruces
Sun-News, N.M.McClatchy-Tribune Regional News
July 30, 2011--LAS CRUCES -- All the news is not gloom and doom. While much of the nation and many industries still deal with the aftershocks of the Great Recession, the overnight hospitality industry here in Las Cruces actually saw an increase in business during the recently completed fiscal year.
According to statistics from the Las Cruces Convention & Visitors Bureau, from July 1, 2010, to June 30, 2011, the occupancy rate, average daily room rate and the amount of lodger's tax collected all rose.
"I was not shocked when I went in and compared the numbers, but those are pretty sizable gains in one year to the next," said Chris Faivre, media/publications manager with the Convention and Visitors Bureau. "This is nice because we're not hearing much talk about growth (in other areas)."
According to the CVB, the occupancy rate -- the average percentage hotels, motel and other overnight lodging rooms are occupied at a given time -- was 64 percent for the past fiscal year. That is up from 58.5 percent for the year before.
The average daily room rate was $74.20 this year, an increase from $73.31 the previous year.
The lodger's tax collected by the city also grew 7.5 percent to finish the recent fiscal year at slightly more than $1.8 million.
Faivre said there are about 2,800 to 3,000 rooms available in Las Cruces. The number will soon increase by 80. A second Holiday Inn Express location is under construction on Telshor Court, past Uno Chicago Grill.
Owner Deepesh Kholwabwala said the location should be open the first week of October.
"There's growing demand (in Las Cruces)," Kholwabwala said. "And the interstates bring a lot of traffic."
Faivre said he believes the opening of the Las Cruces Convention Center has made a difference as well.
"One's going to help the other," he said. "Getting a hotel close by (the center), like the university is talking about, will be good. But having more rooms' in the city can always help. Say we have 3,000 hotel rooms, well at any given time, more than half of these are full."
So, for larger events, having more rooms available could be advantageous.
Across the country
The industry appears to be improving nationwide as well.
STR, a company that tracks supply and demand data for the hotel industry, reports that overall occupancy rates for the United States hotel industry increased 4.2 percent to 67.6 percent in June and the average daily room rate ended the month up 3.5 percent at $101.95.
"The hotel industry's performance improvements during the first half of 2011 have been steady, and we have no reason to believe the second half of the year won't continue on the same track," said Amanda Hite, STR's president."
Brook Stockberger can be reached at (575) 541-5457
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Copyright (c) 2011, Las Cruces Sun-News, N.M.
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