by Michael J. Shapiro | December 03, 2014
The pace of new group reservations has grown by 10.5 percent over last month, according to the November 2014 TravelClick North American Hospitality Review, which measures committed occupancy at hotels in major North American markets. That trend is driving the industry's positive momentum, with transient business bookings up by just 1.6 percent and transient leisure down by 1 percent. "Despite global travel concerns over Ebola, the hotel sector continues to grow, and we expect this trend to continue through the rest of 2014 and into 2015," said John Hach, TravelClick's senior vice president of global product management. "Looking forward, TravelClick sees a real opportunity for capturing shorter-term group business, which should help bolster overall average daily rate performance throughout 2015."

For the fourth quarter of this year, the group occupancy increase is a more significant factor to the overall outlook than group rate. Group reserved occupancy is up by 4.7 percent year-over-year, helping to drive the overall reserved occupancy increase of 3.6 percent. The 1.8 percent rise in group rate is short of the overall ADR increase of 3.9 percent. Looking to the first quarter of 2015, group occupancy is running 4.3 percent higher than it was for Q1 2014 at this point a year ago, with the average daily group rate 2.6 percent higher. For the overall hotel business, Q1 2015 is currently 4.8 percent higher, year-over-year, with the ADR up by 4.3 percent. "Group business is proving to be a strong and robust channel," continued Hach. "This segment encountered the most highs and lows in 2014. We are very encouraged by the pace of group bookings and believe that hotels have a real opportunity to grow this channel throughout 2015."