All travel segments produced year-over-year fourth-quarter gains for hoteliers in both bookings and average daily rate, according to TravelClick's December 2017 North American Hospitality Review. Group business was particularly strong, with a 5.1 percent increase in bookings and a 1.7 percent boost in average daily rate. That significantly exceeds the overall average bookings increase of 1.2 percent, although group ADR growth continues to lag behind the industry average, which was up by 4.3 percent for Q4. RevPAR for all segments was up by 5.6 percent for the last quarter of 2017.
"As we wrap up 2017, this level of growth has been long-awaited by hoteliers, especially given how inconsistent the past year has been as a result of natural disasters, shifts in public policies and international tensions," said John Hach, above, senior industry analyst with TravelClick. "The hospitality industry has definitive reason to embrace this last quarter as it prepares for what's ahead in the first quarter of 2018."
What's ahead isn't looking particularly robust in terms of meetings business, however. Committed group occupancy in the first quarter of 2018 is trending downward, with a year-over-year dip of 1.4 percent. But a 2.1 percent increase in ADR is associated with those bookings, and occupancy is expected to pick up over the course of the year. Committed group room nights are up by 1.8 percent over this time last year for Dec. 2017 through Nov. 2018, with an uptick in ADR of 1.4 percent.
"While we are ending 2017 on a positive note, it's more critical than ever for hoteliers who actively compete for smaller groups and transient-occupancy opportunities to ensure that they start 2018 on the right track," added Hach.
Overall, committed occupancy is up by 0.7 percent for the first quarter of 2018, and ADR is up by 0.6 percent.