Lagging Group Demand Slows Hotel Rebound

North American hotel demand and average daily rates are generally up, according to the March 2013 TravelClick North American Hospitality Review, although group-travel statistics significantly lag those of transient travel. Group occupancy is up 1.7 percent year over year, while transient occupancy has grown by 2.6 percent. Average daily rate has inched up just 0.8 percent for groups, while the average transient rate has surged by 5.0 percent, according to the report. "There are signs of weakness in the group sector," acknowledged TravelClick executive vice president Tim Hart, "as the pace of new group bookings continues to decline or flatten depending on the month. Weakening group demand will make it hard for the industry to achieve the same level of performance it saw in 2012." Overall, committed occupancy for the next year is 1.9 percent higher than the previous 12 months, and average daily rate is up by 3.5 percent. Overall revenue per available room was up by 5.5 percent for the first quarter, and is running at a 6.5 percent year-over-year gain for the second quarter. The report is based on group sales commitments and individual reservations in the 25 major North American markets for hotel stays booked by March 3 for March 2013 to February 2014.