by Michael J. Shapiro | March 24, 2015
The February U.S. hotel occupancy rate, which rose by 3.2 percent year-over-year to 62.3 percent, was the highest February occupancy ever recorded, according to STR. But it was the average daily rate, which jumped by 4.7 percent over the previous year, that primarily drove the solid 8 percent rise in revenue per available room, noted the lodging-data provider. "We expect continued yet slower occupancy growth looking ahead, particularly in the second half," said STR senior VP of operations Bobby Bowers. "ADR should continue to be the primary driver of RevPAR growth. STR and Tourism Economics are currently forecasting full-year U.S. RevPAR growth at 6.4 percent." Eleven out of the top 25 markets reported double-digit RevPAR increases for the month, led by Denver's 21.6 percent leap. Three other markets enjoyed increases exceeding 15 percent: Tampa/St. Petersburg, Fla. (up 18.5 percent); Phoenix (up 17.9 percent), and New Orleans (up 16.7 percent). Five markets experienced double-digit ADR increases, led by Phoenix (up 12.9 percent).