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Occupancy Growth Occurring for Houston Area Hotels
Resulting in New Hiring and Renovations

According to Poll Conducted by Hotel & Lodging Association of Greater Houston

March 13, 2012 - News citing Houston as one of the most prosperous cities in the United States where economic and job growth are concerned is getting support from the area hotel industry.

According to a recent poll by the Hotel & Lodging Association of Greater Houston, a majority of area hotels are experiencing an unexpected occupancy growth over last year, and for many, that is resulting in new hiring and renovations.

The Association sent a questionnaire to its members last month asking three main questions – how is business doing compared to last year, are there plans to hire additional staff, and if business has improved, how has it affected plans to renovate or expand.

Twenty-eight hotels responded – ranging from full-service luxury properties to long-stay economy hotels – and all but one reported occupancy rates had improved. Two hotels located near The Galleria said business was up 5-10%. Notably, the hotels reporting business growth represent areas all around the area, including West Houston, NASA, North Houston, the Medical Center and Downtown.

As recent as last fall, hoteliers here were being told that while there would be some growth they should not expect to reach pre-recession levels 2015. As a result, most hotels projected they would maintain current levels or show minimal improvement. What has happened in the marketplace since then, therefore, has been an unexpected, but pleasant surprise.

One of the most significant results of the improving business reality has been in hiring additional staff. More than half the hotels responding said they were expanding their staffs, with some reporting they were now replacing personnel in positions that had been eliminated because of the recession. Other hoteliers said they were not making new hires but, because of increased business, are now carefully monitoring overtime of the current staff with the idea that new hiring may become necessary.

A third of the hotels reported that they are planning renovations or expansions this year, with several citing the improved business conditions behind the decision to go ahead or move up plans to do so and one saying the growth made it easier to get the needed financing to begin renovations. A Hotel Association poll conducted in December, 2008, discovered that existing area hotels had invested more than $220 million in renovations and expansions in 2008, so many properties were not considering doing so in 2012.

Following the main questions in the poll, hoteliers were also asked if they were seeing any other changes in the local industry, and, what they attributed all the changes to.

Across the board, the hoteliers said the oil and gas industry was the strongest factor behind business growth, with increased travel spending in other industries coming in next. There were also indications that visitors to the Medical Center have increased, adding to occupancy rates at Medical Center hotels.

While reports varied, many hotels said they had seen an increase of job applications, especially from out of state, an indication Houston’s reportedly strong job market is attracting attention in areas harder hit by the recession. California seemed to be producing the most. One hotelier said he had seen a definite decline in “over-qualified” applicants than from a year ago. One Medical Center hotel spokesman said his hotel was seeing a definite increase in out-of-state applicants as well as people who were willing to take pay cuts from previous salary levels. Luxury hotels reported the pool of applicants with luxury hotel experience wanting to move or return to Texas was impressive.

No one cited the renewed declaration by Men’s Fitness Magazine saying Houston is the country’s fattest city as having any effect on anything.

This poll is one of several the Hotel and Lodging Association conducts each year concerning activities and opinions among its members.

With more than 300 members, the organization is made up of general managers and owners of hotels and motels, suppliers, service companies and consultants who sell and service the hospitality industry. This industry, which provides more $147 million in local tax receipts and $327 million in payroll, is one of the top contributors to the Houston economy.

Serving as the voice representing the hotel and lodging industry in the Houston area, the HLAGH is active in governmental affairs, education, tourism and charitable efforts. The organization provides scholarships to the Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel & Restaurant Management at the University of Houston and on-the-job training to high school students through its High Schools for Hospitality Program.

For more information, call the HLAGH at 713-437-5250 or e-mail the association,

Mark G Hanna
Customer First

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Also See: Donald J. Henderson Honored by the Hotel & Lodging Association of Greater Houston with its Lifetime Achievement Award; Seven Additional Awards Presented Recognizing Contributions in Hospitality / December 2011

Hotel & Lodging Association of Greater Houston Honors Joe Palmieri with Their Inaugural General Manager of the Year Award / December 2011

Hotel & Lodging Association of Greater Houston Honors Hospitality Employees for their Extra Efforts; Lifetime Achievement Award Given to Donald J. Henderson / November 2011

Hotel & Lodging Association of Greater Houston Elects 2011-2012 Board with Tom A Mathews as Chair / July 2011

The Hotel and Lodging Association of Greater Houston Honors Hospitality Employees For Going Beyond Their Jobs; Douglas Horn Recipient of Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award / November 2010

Hotel & Lodging Association of Greater Houston Elects 2010-2011 Executive Board; Tom Rosepink Elected as Chair of Board of Directors / July 2010

The Hotel and Lodging Association of Greater Houston Honors Hospitality Employees For Going Beyond Their Jobs / November 2009

The Hotel & Lodging Association of Greater Houston Elects Jim Mills, GM of The Houstonian Hotel as its 2009-2010 Board of Directors Chair / June 2009

The Hotel Association of Greater Dallas Recognizes Individuals, Hotels, and Companies for Contributions to the Hotel Industry; Joe Palmieri, GM at the Hilton Dallas Lincoln Centre, Awarded General Manager of the Year for Full Service Hotels / November 2007

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