by Michael J. Shapiro | May 10, 2011

 Year-over-year increases in revenue per available room were posted by Gaylord Entertainment Co., Hyatt Hotels Corp. and Starwood Hotels & Resorts, all of which reported first-quarter financial results in the past week. Starwood led the way with RevPAR increases of 11.1 percent at its North American properties and 10.4 percent worldwide. Hyatt's international properties faired particularly well, with a year-over-year RevPAR increase of 11.0 percent. Hyatt's North American full-service RevPAR, meanwhile, grew by 8.1 percent. Gaylord's RevPAR gains were more modest, inching up by a half percent, excluding business at the Opryland property. That hotel posted a 5.0 percent RevPAR increase in the first quarter. In terms of group business, Starwood reported that demand continues to be robust; Hyatt, similarly, reported that year-over-year North America group booking activity for future dates continues to be strong. Gaylord execs, meanwhile, deemed group activity "solid" despite a 31.2 percent year-over-year decrease in gross advance group bookings, including activity at the Opryland property. The first quarter of 2010 was "especially strong," noted Gaylord chairman and CEO Colin Reed in an earnings call, and bookings in the fourth quarter of 2010 were robust as well. "We're not disappointed in the least with our [first-quarter] performance," Reed said, adding that bookings for groups traveling in the next 12 to 24 months were actually up in volume and rate. Because Gaylord is being more aggressive in room rates for 2012 and beyond, it is primarily the longer-term bookings that are down compared to last year.  "We believe that by delaying booking high-demand group periods until rates are more acceptable, we will ultimately be able to ensure we reap the full benefits of the recovery," said president and COO David Kloeppel in the same call.  "While this strategy may negatively impact our bookings in the short term, we think it will be valuable in the long term as rate recovers."