Hotel room prices rise 4.3% in 2011

By Hugo Martín, Los AngelesTimes, January 7, 2012

With business and leisure travel growing, the average price for a hotel room rose 4.3% nationwide last year and is expected to climb further this year, helping the industry rebound from the Great Recession.

The higher rates also reflected the limited growth in the number of new hotels, according to industry analysts.

Last year’s increases and this year’s projections came in separate studies that looked at hotel bookings over the last year and advance bookings into the next nine months.

At the end of December, hotel rates nationwide were up 4.3% from a year earlier, to an average daily rate of $107.56, according to a study released Friday by STR Global, a hotel research firm in Nashville.

The number of hotel rooms in the U.S. grew only 0.6% last year, said Jan Freitag, senior vice president at STR. In contrast, the hotel industry added rooms at a rate of 2.2% a year over the last 20 years, he said.

Fewer hotels were built last year because banks were more reluctant to finance hotel construction, he said.

“The limited number of rooms gave the hotels pricing power,” Freitag said.

Hotel rates are expected to climb 3.6% this year as demand continues to grow, according to the study by TravelClick, a New York company that provides booking software and business data for major hotel chains worldwide.

(Posted by Dave Hogg)


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