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Expert: What Do Record Travel Rates Mean for Hotels?

National Hotel

NYU’s Bjorn Hanson, Ph.D., tells us to expect higher US hotel occupancy “this holiday season and this year than any year in history.”

This comes as AAA says there will be over 100 million travelers this holiday season—almost one third of the US population. And you thought Thanksgiving traffic was bad.

Low gas prices are what Bjorn calls a “double positive” for the hotel and tourism industry: 

  1. Transport costs will be lower, contributing to the travel boom.
  2. Travelers will have more cash in hand—from savings on gas and heating oil—to spend at their holiday hangouts

Remember, the early bird gets the room. Bjorn tells us that demand, measured in occupied rooms, should be even higher, but record occupancy rates will result in a high number of hotel turn-aways.

Positive results in the hotel sector dominate, but Bjorn says there are some no-so-hot metrics. With demand skyrocketing, room prices should be through the roof—but they’re looking restrained. Online travel agencies let consumers shop around more easily, creating more price-slashing competition.

It also might be tough to hit the same showing as last year in specific chunks of the market, as new supply and economic issues (for example US oil zombies) cause a bit of a shake-up in select areas.