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Is the U.S. hotel market tapped out?


No wonder U.S. hotel companies are scrambling to develop properties outside this country: Despite political volatility and more, performance data for 2006 shows double-digit growth in RevPAR for hotels in Asia, Central and South America, Europe and the Middle East.

According to a recent HotelBenchmark survey by Deloitte, the Middle East led the way for the third consecutive year, posting RevPAR growth of 16.5 percent; despite terrorist activity and other political unrest in the region, ADR there grew 17.8 percent to $142.

In Central and South America, RevPAR growth was 13 percent, and ADR grew 12.3 percent to $122. In Europe, RevPAR grew by 12 percent to $102, almost double the growth achieved in 2005, Deloitte reports. Part of the reason was special events such as the Winter Olympics in Italy and the Americas Cup in Spain.

Even in Asia Pacific, which experienced earthquakes, terrorist attacks and bomb explosions, RevPAR grew 11 percent; in India, RevPAR shot up 30 percent. Deloitte has called India âœone of the leading stars in the hotel industry.â

Meanwhile, PricewaterhouseCoopers has pegged RevPAR growth in U.S. hotels at 8 percent in 2006. This country hasn't been attacked in more than five years, it's relatively peaceful and earthquakes are rare here. Maybe it should do more to draw international travelersâsomething other countries seem to do well despite long odds.

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