New Orleans area hotels boosting the local economy
Don Ames Reporting
Occupancy rates at New Orleans-area hotels are running nearly 6 percent ahead last year at this time.
"We've had a 5.8 percent growth in hotel occupancy through the first 10 months of the year compared with the same time last year," says Kelly Schulz, with the Greater New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau.
That's according to Smith Travel Research's monthly hotel report, released Monday.
Could this be the best year for area hotels since Katrina?
Schulz says the numbers are moving in the right direction, with a lot of momentum early in the year. "Between January and June we had 4.9 million visitors that came to New Orleans. And for 2011, total, we had 8.75 million. We can't really double the numbers and assume that we'll get another 4.9 million in the fall, but the numbers are definitely going in the right direction."
Current occupancy figures, alone, rank New Orleans at #3, after Nashville and Houston.
But, tourism officials are more excited about another hotel industry measurement.
"What's even better than just looking at the occupancy numbers is another industry measure that we use called 'RevPAR,' which is revenue per available room. And, according to those numbers, New Orleans is #2 in the country for RevPAR growth," says Schulz.
RevPAR, is calculated by multiplying a hotel's average daily room rate by its occupancy rate. It can also be calculated by dividing a hotel's total guestroom revenue by the room count and the number of days in the period being measured.
"We're 15.8 percent ahead, for 2012, compared to where we were 2011, RevPAR. And, we're #2, only after Oahu in Hawaii," Schulz says.
That's an indication that, not only are the tourists coming to town in great numbers, they're also willing to spend money when they get here. And that's where the local economy benefits most.
According to Schulz, the Average Daily Rate (ADR) for New Orleans is third in the country, after San Francisco and Oahu. New Orleans' ADR is 9.4 percent higher in 2012, compared to 2011.
All in all, says Schulz, it looks like a banner year for the city
"With all the awards, being named 'America's Favorite City', and leading up to the Super Bowl...we are definitely going to end the year on a good note."