PricewaterhouseCoopers forecasts record lodging demand during the 2003 holiday season. The firm’s forecast of 9.1 million occupied room nights for the four days of the 2003 Thanksgiving holiday weekend and 18.2 million for the nine days of Christmas/New Year’s holiday period would set new records for lodging demand over a holiday period.

The occupancy rate for the Thanksgiving period will average 51% and the Christmas/New Year’s holiday period will average 45% — the equivalent of occupancy levels in 2000. Average daily rates are forecast to be slightly above last year’s levels. Based on Smith Travel Research data, U.S. lodging supply has increased by 5% — or 212,000 rooms — since 2000, so expected current-year occupancies reflect record holiday demand levels.

"The strength of the holiday season reinforces our forecast for robust demand recovery in 2004," says Bjorn Hanson, global leader of PricewaterhouseCoopers’ hospitality & leisure practice.

PricewaterhouseCoopers’ forecasts lodging demand will expand by 4% in 2004 and revenue per available room (RevPar) will increase by 4.9% in 2004. These are the largest percentage demand and RevPAR increases since 1989 and 1997, respectively.