by Michael J. Shapiro | July 24, 2019
Group hotel bookings for the remainder of 2019 are driving a positive year-over-year increase in average daily rate, according to data from TravelClick's July North American Hospitality Review. Overall ADR is slightly up by 0.6 percent, based on revenue currently on the books for 2019. Group ADR is surging, increasing by 1.9 percent, while transient is nearly flat, up by just 0.2 percent. A further breakdown of that transient figure reveals that a 2.4 percent increase in transient leisure bookings almost being wiped out by a 2 percent drop in transient business reservations.
Overall bookings are at least temporarily trending upward, with 1.1 percent more business on the books than last month. "July's new reservation pace showed signs of improvement vs. recent months," confirmed TravelClick senior industry analyst John Hach, adding that group demand was a highlight. "While it is premature to consider these results a sustaining trend, there are several underlying data points demonstrating broader reservation pace growth across numerous North American markets."

Group bookings are just slightly up for the next 12 months compared to this time last year, by 0.3 percent, to accompany the comparatively strong ADR jump. But transient bookings are actually down by 1.7 percent for the coming year. "Although July's reservation performance signaled signs of improvement, leisure transient bookings are continuing to lag throughout the remainder of 2019," said Hach. "It's important to note this is now a sustaining reality for North American hoteliers due to new local inventory coupled with an ever-increasing array of alternative lodging choices."

Hoteliers might be compensating with group rates. For the third quarter, group-reserved occupancy is just slightly down, by 0.2 percent, but ADR is up by 1.2 percent. That difference is more pronounced when looking forward to the fourth quarter: Committed group occupancy is down by 0.5 percent while ADR for that business is up by a solid 3.8 percent.