Alec Sanguinetti, director general and CEO for Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association, opening the plenary sessions at the 2010 Small Hotels Retreat // © 2010 Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association.
Recently, in Puerto Rico, smaller hotel properties got their turn to be heard at the 2010 Small Hotels Retreat, an event mounted by the Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association (CHTA), an organization with 725 member hotels and 525 allied members.
During the conference, Brittany Baldwin, sales executive for Smith Travel Research, provided an overview of the State of the Lodging Industry. Baldwin shared that the average daily rate (ADR) increased by 4 percent throughout the Caribbean in 2010 based on statistics collected through July, and that revenue per available room (RevPAR ) rose by 5.8 percent. Occupancy levels increased by 1.8 percent and room revenue jumped 6.1 percent during the same period. These were impressive upticks for such a challenging year. Figures from the small hotel sector were even more impressive, showing a 10.8 percent increase in ADR and a 19 percent leap in RevPAR. Small hotels saw occupancy increase by 7.4 percent, with room revenue jumping 19.7 percent. Small hotels are defined by CHTA as having 75 rooms or less.
Numbers like these bolstered small hoteliers who have not seen positive growth since the downturn at the end of 2008. Compared to small hotels in other warm-weather regions such as Florida and Hawaii, with sustained dips in ADR, small hotels in the Caribbean and Mexico are looking particularly good this year.
“We’re not out of the woods yet, but the good news is that we are on track for an eventual recovery,” said Josef Forstmayr, President of CHTA. “And while improvements have not been as drastic as we had hoped, delegates at the Small Hotels Retreat were in good spirits for the first time in years.”
The panel, “Maximizing — Partnering for Success,” discussed the importance of hoteliers getting together with other properties through local hotel associations, to partner on co-op marketing and advertising initiatives as well as work with tourist boards to target niche markets.
Wes Anderson, regional director of revenue management for North America at InterContinental Hotels, predicted that “the recovery is going to be a top down recovery” as upscale luxury hotels will be able to return to their original business model and no longer have to make bids to attract customers who traditionally stayed at lower-end hotels.