US hospitality: “Revenue growth is not keeping up with rising costs”

The US hotel industry registered record-breaking performance levels during 2019 but its lowest growth rate in revenue per available room (RevPAR) since the current cycle began in 2010, according to data from STR.

The absolute ADR and RevPAR values were the highest STR has ever benchmarked. The industry also set records for supply (more than 1.9 billion room nights available) and demand (roughly 1.3 billion room nights sold). Based on percentage growth for the year, supply and demand increased at the same rate (+2.0%).

“The industry turned in another record year in terms of rooms available, rooms sold and rooms revenue,” said Amanda Hite, STR’s president. “As was documented throughout 2019, however, RevPAR growth came in lower than any year since the recession and well below the long-term historical average of 3.2%. With supply and demand growing in equilibrium, ADR is the sole driver of RevPAR gains. Unfortunately, with ADR rising below the rate of inflation, revenue growth is not keeping up with rising costs, such as increases in wages. That is a concern for owners and operators alike.

Year RevPAR % Change
2009 -16.6
2010 5.4
2011 8.1
2012 6.7
2013 5.2
2014 8.2
2015 6.1
2016 3.1
2017 2.9
2018 2.9
2019 0.9

Compared with 2018:

  • Occupancy: flat at 66.1%
  • Average daily rate (ADR): +1.0% to USD131.21
  • Revenue per available room (RevPAR): +0.9% to USD86.76

Hite went on to add, “Moving forward, we’re not forecasting much of a change from the current fundamentals. Supply growth has remained manageable at the national level, but there is an uneven amount of new inventory in the limited-service sectors as well as certain major markets. That is where we will see the greatest challenges as the industry embarks on another year of low-performance growth levels.”

Amanda Hite

Among the Top 25 Markets, Phoenix, Arizona, experienced the highest rise in occupancy (+1.6% to 70.7%) and RevPAR (+4.5% to USD94.23).

Super Bowl LIII host Atlanta, Georgia, reported the year’s largest lift in ADR (+4.2% to USD114.54).

Two markets tied for the second-highest increase in occupancy: Denver, Colorado (+1.3% to 73.9%) and Tampa/St. Petersburg, Florida (+1.3% to 72.3%). Denver also registered the second-largest spike in RevPAR (+4.3% to USD100.27).

Influenced by supply growth of 5.9%, Seattle, Washington, reported the steepest decline in RevPAR (-4.0% to USD118.86). Houston, Texas, posted the largest drop in ADR (-3.2% to USD101.89).

Three markets matched for the steepest decrease in occupancy: San Diego, California (-2.3% to 76.7%); Boston, Massachusetts (-2.3% to 73.9%); and Detroit, Michigan (-2.3% to 65.6%).

Q4 2019

Specifically, during the fourth quarter of 2019, U.S. hotel occupancy fell 0.1% to 61.8%, ADR was up 0.7% to USD128.94 and RevPAR increased 0.7% to USD79.69.

Among the Top 25 Markets, San Francisco/San Mateo, California, recorded the largest jump in RevPAR (+7.4% to USD193.35).

Oahu Island, Hawaii, posted the largest lift in ADR (+4.3% to USD247.91) and the second-highest increase in RevPAR (+7.1% to USD204.94).

Houston, Texas, experienced the highest rise in occupancy (+3.7% to 60.6%).

Boston, Massachusetts, reported the steepest decline in each of the three key performance metrics: occupancy (-6.5% to 70.3%), ADR (-5.5% to USD192.80) and RevPAR (-11.6% to USD135.46).

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