Intrigued by America being on sale? Here's a whistle stop guide to understanding the exchange rate impact on hospitality.
One of the most popular slides, from Jan Freitag of Smith Travel Research, triggered quite a few questions about the impact of currency exchange rates on our industry, so I thought I would offer a little more detail to those who are intrigued by America being on sale because of the fall of dollar against most of the world's major currencies.
The slide below appeared in the posting from NABHOOD. It was presented by Jan Freitag of STR.
I commented that I also find it particularly valuable to see that in the coastal areas -- such as Atlanta, New York, Los Angeles, Oahu and San Francisco, the EXCHANGE RATE impact has been so significant in the ADR change (ranging from 4% in LA and 3.4% in Atlanta to a mere 0.8% in San Francisco. But somehow it has had a NEGATIVE impact in Orlando of 8.9%, 4.8% in Washington, and 2.5% in Boston.
[To be more precise, I should have said, "somehow those markets were not able to raise ADRs enough to maintain a stable or increased ADR in terms of foreign exchange rates for the dollar against the Euro and the Yen."]Several of you commented to the following effect:
As always, I enjoy and appreciate your articles! I was a bit puzzled by the exchange rate impact. One would assume that the extremely weak U.S. dollar would [at least] allow hotels and resorts to capture a very good ADR from foreign visitors? Why the negative impact in some instances (Boston, Orlando and D.C.)?What is this all about?
The dollar devaluation against the Euro and other currencies is helping in providing a room rate bargain. ("The U.S. is on sale!")
Over the 2007 period covered by the slide, the U.S. dollar's exchange rate declined 9% against the Euro. Thus if rates went up only 6% in Boston, they went down 3% in terms of the Euro's buying power or they seemed cheaper by that amount to holders of Euros. (+6% - 9% = -3%)
And similarly, Boston's 12.4% actual ADR increase would be perceived as only a 3.4% ADR increase to someone using Euros. (12.4% - 9% = +3.4%)
In other words, the slide goes to the relative impact of U.S. ADRs to those using foreign currency. It does not bespeak actual decreases in ADR in the indicated markets.Split rates for domestic vs foreign guests?
STR's Jan Freitag observes that the data supporting this phenomenon suggests that hotels should keep their rates flat or raise them slightly when marketing to Europeans. This observation leads to an intriguing idea!
The data suggests that hotels in some markets obviously felt that they would lose domestic travelers if they raised rates sufficiently to stay up with the Euro and the Yen. Why else would Orlando fail to capture 8.9% of ADR relative to the Euro?
But what if hotels could charge split rates -- one rate for domestic guests feeling the economic pinch of our current economic cycle and another rate for guests riding high on currencies worth 50% against the dollar than they were only a short while ago?
I encountered something like that a few years ago when the Australian dollar was at historic lows against the U.S. dollar. In fact it was about $0.55 Australian to the $1.00 U.S. Most of Australia seemed to be on sale at half price. If something cost a dollar in the U.S., it typically cost a dollar (Australian) in Sidney. But I could get almost two Australian dollars for every U.S. dollar I spent.
This worked great in the wine districts of the Barossa and the Margaret River. But when we went to arrange a 10-day live-aboard dive vacation of the Great Barrier Reef, we encountered different rates for U.S. travelers and Australian travelers. They made us pay more for the same event than our Australian friends on the same trip, because it was half as expensive for us -- or that was their reasoning.
It may be easier to arrange such price differentials on a single website for Australian dive trips than through the multiple channels through which hotel rooms are booked. But it does provide some food for thought.
What do you think? Could we have split rates? Should we have split rates?How to find Hospitality Lawyer's latest articles on "Outlook and Trends"
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Exchange Rate impact on 2007 ADR
The Smith Travel Research slides have some great data (see Presentation for NYU and Update from NABHOOD).This is Jim Butler, author of www.HotelLawBlog.com and hotel lawyer, signing off. We've done more than $50 billion of hotel transactions and more than 100 hotel mixed-used deals in the last 5 years alone. Who's your hotel lawyer?
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Jim Butler is one of the top hospitality attorneys in the world. GOOGLE "hotel lawyer" or "hotel mixed-use" or "condo hotel lawyer" and you will see why.Jim devotes 100% of his practice to hospitality, representing hotel owners, developers and lenders. Jim leads JMBM's Global Hospitality Group® -- a team of 50 seasoned professionals with more than $50 billion of hotel transactional experience, involving more than 1,000 properties located around the globe. In the last 5 years alone, Jim and his team have assisted clients with more than 100 hotel mixed-use projects -- frequently integrated with energizing lifestyle elements.
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