Let’s Hope for Another Solid Year

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If you were to ask me how to characterize this past year in the hotel industry, I think I’d call it solid. Although we just published our top 10 stories of the year the last two days, I have to admit not one really stands out in my mind. There wasn’t a single issue, trend or transaction that the year will be remembered for in 10 or 20 years, I’d guess, and it wasn’t a record-breaking year (good or bad). It was just steady.

And that’s a great thing. It’s the third straight year of solid growth after the depths of 2008 and 2009. The hotel industry is that much further away from the industry’s deepest downturn, now several years into a recovery and the next cycle. This year’s growth — preliminarily 6.6% in RevPAR, says STR — mostly came from rate (4.3%) as occupancy leveled off some (up 2.3%).

Demand reached record levels in 2011 and again this year, while supply growth remained below historical norms — “near ideal conditions for the industry to finally put the recession in the rearview mirror,” says Amanda Hite, STR president. STR, PKF and PricewaterhouseCoopers all project 5% to 7% revenue growth in 2013, although certainly the looming fiscal cliff crisis could have a significant effect.

I think most hotel owners would happily take another year just like 2012. Happy New Year, and let’s hope 2013 is as solid as the one we’re about the close the book on.

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