After Dire Q1, Hotel Analysts See Steeper '09 Decline
First-quarter performance by multibrand hotel companies underscored the deep difficulties the industry is facing, particularly in upper-tier hotels, as analysts continue to move 2009 expectations downward. In the first three months of this year, the U.S. lodging industry saw revenue per available room drop 17.7 percent compared with the same period in 2008, according to Smith Travel Research, which also showed occupancy down 10.9 percent and average daily rate fell 7.7 percent. "With the first quarter of 2009 now behind us, it is clear that declining room rates are taking a harder toll on performance than we were expecting," Smith Travel Research president Mark Lomanno said in a statement. "It appears that many hoteliers are embracing the very same pricing and room distribution strategies implemented in the 2001/2002 downturn."