by Michael J. Shapiro | September 24, 2014
U.S. hotel revenue per available room grew by 9.4 percent over last year for the month of August, the second-highest monthly RevPAR growth this year, according to data from STR. Occupancy was up by 3.8 percent and average daily rate shot up by 5.4 percent. The solid RevPAR increase "was fueled by by continued strong demand increases across the board," noted STR VP of strategic development Jan Freitag. "Demand increased 4.8 percent, or 5 million rooms, from August of last year and pushed year-to-date demand up 4.3 percent." Supply growth, meanwhile, continued its slow but steady climb with a 1 percent increase. The year-to-date occupancy for 2014 is 66 percent, Freitag added, the strongest performance in the last 17 years. Improved group performance continues to play a key role: Group occupancy increased by 2.9 percent in August and is up by 3.3 percent year-over-year for 2014. "These strong demand increases put hoteliers firmly in the driver's seat with regard to pricing power," said Freitag. The August rate growth was the highest since January 2008. Seven of the top markets reported double-digit ADR growth for the month, led by Nashville (up by 12.7 percent to $114.22), Seattle (up by 12.6 percent to $163.83) and San Francisco/San Mateo, Calif. (up by 12.1 percent to $229.10).