by Michael J. Shapiro | October 31, 2012

U.S. lodging executives are feeling a bit more positive about current business conditions, according to the University of New Hampshire Lodging Executives Sentiment Index, which rose slightly from 60.0 in August to 60.7 in September. The LESI, run by the Department of Hospitality Management at the UNH Whittemore School of Business and Economics, is based on a monthly survey of 20 lodging executives who represent companies with more than 2.5 million U.S. hotel rooms. While the index represents an improvement, attitudes are not entirely positive. Forty-three percent of the respondents indicated current business conditions were good in September, up from 40 percent in August, and 43 percent said conditions were normal, up from 33 percent in August. Fourteen percent of the executives said conditions were bad. The sentiment is worse with respect to the coming year. Only 28 percent of those surveyed thought conditions would improve over the next 12 months; 57 percent thought conditions would remain the same and 14 percent said conditions will worsen. That's a decline from the August index, when no executives thought conditions would get worse. Lodging execs do, however, expect to add more nonmanagerial employees over the next 12 months, an improvement over August sentiment concerning employment.