by Michael J. Shapiro | November 01, 2015
Westin Denver International Airport (pictured)
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Business is taking off at airport hotels, according to lodging-data provider STR. Revenue per available room for the first seven months of the year at airport properties was up by 9.1 percent over the same period in 2014, and that was on top of 9.3 percent growth over the prior year. That's quite a jump from the 7.4 percent RevPAR growth experienced by U.S. hotels overall this year.

Average daily rate at airport hotels is up by 7 percent year-over-year, 2 percentage points higher than the industry average, on the strength of 75.5 percent average occupancy.

While occupancy at airport properties is bolstered by a steady stream of flight crews and stranded travelers, new developments clearly target groups. The 519-room Westin Denver International Airport, for instance, will open later this month with 37,000 square feet of meeting space, as well as a restaurant and a fitness center.

"Hotel developers are realizing it just might be easier for a lot of people to meet at or near airports, especially in cities were the airports are not easily accessed," noted Jan Freitag, senior vice president of lodging insights at STR. "You can fly in, meet and be out again very quickly. Everyone's happy."

Among other airport properties set to debut in the next few years is the 204-room Renaissance Atlanta Airport Gateway Hotel, scheduled to open at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in March 2017 with 6,500 square feet of meeting space. A 505-room hotel with a significant 40,000 square feet of meeting space is planned for the TWA Flight Center at New York's Kennedy International Airport, due to debut in 2018.