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by Michael J. Shapiro | April 30, 2014

U.S. hotel occupancy rose 2.9 percent year-over-year for the first quarter of 2014, to 59.2 percent, according to lodging data provider STR, the highest first-quarter occupancy seen since 2007. A solid 6.8 percent rise in revenue per available room was driven primarily by the 3.8 percent gain in average daily rate. The outlook for the second quarter is likewise positive, according to the April 2014 TravelClick North American Hospitality Review, which bases its projection on committed business. That said, the gains likely will come primarily from the transient leisure segment, currently experiencing a 5.7 percent increase in average daily rate for the second quarter and an occupancy boost of 9.6 percent. When looking only at group business for the second quarter, reserved occupancy is up by 2.8 percent, but average daily rate is down by 1.1 percent. The transient sector's performance has been stronger than the group's, according to TravelClick, and it is benefitting further in this quarter due to spring holidays and the beginning of summer vacation.