forecasts occupied room nights of 9.1 million for the four days of the 2003 Thanksgiving holiday weekend and 18.2 million occupied room nights for the nine days of Christmas/New Year’s holiday period, setting new records for lodging demand during these holiday periods.
The occupancy rate for the Thanksgiving period will average 51 percent and the Christmas/New Year’s holiday period will average 45 percent, returning to 2000 levels. 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 five percent, 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,” said Bjorn Hanson, Ph.D., global leader, PricewaterhouseCoopers Hospitality & Leisure Practice.
PricewaterhouseCoopers forecasts lodging demand will expand by 4.0 percent in 2004. RevPAR (revenue per available room) will increase by 4.9 percent in 2004. These are the largest percentage demand and RevPAR increases since 1989 and 1997, respectively.
After five consecutive quarters of occupancy gains at the expense of rate, average daily rate (ADR) increases will strengthen by the third quarter of 2004, and become the primary contributor to RevPAR advances. Seasonally adjusted ADR will rise by 2.9 percent between the second and the fourth quarter of 2003.
PwC’s U.S. occupancy forecast is for an increase to 60.8 percent in 2004.