NASHVILLE, Tennessee—The 5th annual Hotel Data Conference, hosted by STR and Hotel News Now and presented by Loews Vanderbilt Hotel, closed yesterday after two days of valuable industry data presentations and insight from industry leaders. The conference attracted 356 attendees.
Among the data released during the conference was STR’s updated U.S. hotel forecast. The data-benchmarking firm expects the industry to continue its recovery from the recession: Occupancy will increase 1.4 percent this year and 1.3 percent in 2014; average daily rate is expected to rise 4.2 percent and 4.6 percent, respectively; and revenue per available room is projected to climb 5.7 percent this year and 6.0 percent in 2014.
A generally optimistic mood prevailed over the conference, which featured three general sessions, 10 breakout panel discussions and 13 breakout data presentation topics. Prior to the event, the Loews Vanderbilt Hotel also hosted the STR Academy at the Hotel Data Conference, a comprehensive half-day workshop during which attendees learned more about interpreting and maximizing the products and services offered by STR and its affiliated companies.
Mit Shah, chief executive officer of Noble Investment Group, shared his insight on the global hotel industry in “The final gun: Are we ready for the post-season?” during the conference’s final general session.
“If you talk to the largest global real-estate firms, they were a few years ago truly, utterly infatuated with BRICs, but today they have turned their appetite off just as quickly,” he said. “Unless you are from Brazil, it is impossible to get things done in Brazil, and the same thing goes for India. Money is going into Europe, and keep an eye on Mexico.”
Topics covered during the Hotel Data Conference’s general sessions included overall industry and economic trends, digital trends, airline data and customer satisfaction performances. Breakout panel discussions included topics such as budgeting, social media, renovations, branding, mobile and tablet marketing and transient/group travel trends.
During the general session, “Beyond the boundaries: How other industries influence hotel performance,” Michael G. Medzigian, chairman and managing partner of Watermark Capital Partners commented, "Are we as an industry really better than we were three years ago? We're all charging more. We're all spending more on our assets, but in many cases that's disruptive to our guests.”
Data presentations highlighted topics including: the Top 25 markets; food and beverage; a look from peak to trough; profits on the rise; resorts; chain scale segments; beyond the Top 25 markets; one-time event affects on hotel performance; and pipeline.
“Our attendees experienced an outstanding program and a wide array of speakers,” said Amanda Hite, president and COO of STR. “One of STR’s missions is to encourage industry-wide discussions and the sharing of knowledge that helps hoteliers better understand the business environment. The Hotel Data Conference provides a stage for us to accomplish that mission, and we’re confident we achieved our goal and look forward to encouraging that dialogue again next August.”
More than 30 sponsors supported the conference.
The 6th annual Hotel Data Conference will be held 12-14 August 2014 at the Loews Vanderbilt Hotel in Nashville, Tennessee. Visit www.HotelDataConference.com to learn more details as they are released.
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Rachael Spann Urie
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