The Hunter Hotel Conference offered a bevy of insights into the hotel industry in 2019 and beyond. H&LA’s Joseph Pierce highlights a few of those insights to think on as we’ve settled in to 2019:
- There is cautious optimism as the industry is experiencing continued growth of RevPAR. Forecasts suggest that ADR will grow in 2019, though occupancy is projected to be flat in 2019. However, as 2018 was a record occupancy year, any growth regardless of how small will result in another record. While a number of indicators suggest a slowdown economically, hotel supply growth continues and domestic travel remains positive.
- Shrinking bottom line margins and labor are a continued concern for hoteliers as unemployment remains low and wages continue to inch upward. There is an estimated 1 million hospitality industry jobs that remain unfilled.
- Travel within the middle class is projected to continue to grow as this segment continues to grow worldwide.
- Technology innovations were addressed both in context of enhancing guest experience and controlling margin shrinkage. A number of speakers stressed the need to develop and maintain a culture that attracts and retains good employees.