PricewaterhouseCoopers Forecasts Modest RevPAR Increase in 2010

NEW YORK, June 1, 2009 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (PwC) today announced an updated U.S. lodging forecast that reflects the expected resumption of growth in the U.S. economy in the second half of 2009. While occupancy levels and average daily rates (ADR) in the second half of 2009 are expected to remain below last year's levels, resulting in a 15.7 percent decrease in room revenue per available room (RevPAR) in 2009, PricewaterhouseCoopers expects that RevPAR will post modest growth in 2010.

PricewaterhouseCoopers' current lodging forecast reflects updated economic outlooks. After consecutive, substantial declines in real gross domestic product (GDP) in the fourth quarter of 2008 and first quarter of 2009, the contraction of GDP is expected to moderate in the second quarter and to resume growth in the third quarter of 2009. By the second quarter of 2010, the U.S. economy is forecast to grow at an above-trend growth rate.

According to PricewaterhouseCoopers' current lodging forecast, lodging demand in the third and fourth quarters of 2009 is forecast to be 6.4 percent and 1.2 percent below last year's levels, respectively, resulting in an annual decrease of 6.2 percent in 2009. The year-over-year comparison in the fourth quarter of 2009 reflects the one-year anniversary of the abrupt decline in lodging demand in the fourth quarter of 2008. A deceleration of lodging supply growth is expected to result in an annual lodging supply increase of 2.7 percent in 2009. Despite slowing supply growth, this demand-supply imbalance is expected to compress occupancy levels by 8.7 percent in 2009, resulting in an average annual occupancy level of 55.1 percent. Furthermore, decreasing demand and reduced pricing power, combined with a reduction in the share of lodging demand being accommodated by hotels in the higher-priced chain scales, is forecast to reduce ADR by 7.6 percent in 2009.

 PricewaterhouseCoopers U.S. Lodging Forecast - 2009 and 2010
                 2000   2001   2002   2003   2004   2005   2006   2007
 Occupancy      63.3%  59.8%  59.1%  59.2%  61.4%  63.1%  63.3%  63.1%
 ADR Growth      5.4%  -1.4%  -1.5%   0.2%   4.2%   5.5%   7.5%   6.2%
 RevPAR Growth   6.1%  -7.0%  -2.7%   0.5%   7.9%   8.5%   7.8%   5.8%
                 2008   2009    2010
 Occupancy      60.4%   55.1%  56.1%
 ADR Growth      2.5%   -7.6%  -0.2%
 RevPAR Growth  -1.8%  -15.7%   1.6%
 Sources: Smith Travel Research and PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP

In 2010, as the U.S. economy grows at an above-trend rate, RevPAR is forecast to increase by 1.6 percent. This gain will be driven primarily by a 1.8 percent increase in occupancy, as increasing demand and slowing supply growth are expected to increase the average annual occupancy level to 56.1 percent in 2010. Despite increasing demand, hotels, particularly in higher-priced chain scales, are expected to continue to face pricing pressures, resulting in a 0.2 percent decrease in ADR.

"Though business and consumer spending is expected to remain cautious, the anticipated transition of the U.S. economy from sharp contraction to modest growth bodes well for a gradual recovery in the lodging sector, which timed with a deceleration in the number of new hotel rooms entering the market, is expected to support improved lodging performance in 2010," said Scott D. Berman, principal and U.S. Industry Leader, Hospitality & Leisure, for PricewaterhouseCoopers.

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