Holiday hotel occupancy, rates to rise, report says
By Jeannine DeFoe
Bloomberg News service
NEW YORK U.S. hotels will charge higher daily rates and fill more rooms during this holiday season than 2001 as discounts lure travelers, PricewaterhouseCoopers said in a report.
Room rates will lag 2000 levels, when the hotel industry reported record profit.
The average hotel room rate will rise 2.7 percent to $74 during the four-day Thanksgiving weekend beginning Nov. 28 from the same period a year earlier, the firm's hospitality and leisure practice said.
Room occupancy will rise 2.1 percentage points to 52 percent.
The average rate during the two-week Christmas and New Year's holiday will rise 3.3 percent to $79, while occupancy will rise 1.4 percentage points above last year's level.
Discounts offered by hotels and airlines are encouraging consumers to travel during the holidays, the firm said.
Leisure travel now accounts for 45 percent of a hotel company's profit, an increase over the usual 35 percent because of a two-year slump in business travel spending.
"The consumer business is holding up on the demand side, but to generate that demand requires discounting," said Bjorn Hanson, head of the firm's hospitality practice. "If we don't have a strong holiday season, it would hurt industry profitability."