US hotels enjoyed close to 10% profit increase in 2010.
Monday, 23rd May 2011
Source : PKF Consulting USA
While 70 percent of the properties in the Trends® hotel financial sample enjoyed an increase in revenues in 2010, only 60 percent were able to convert that into more money in the bank, indicating that the turnaround in industry performance has not occurred evenly across all sectors of the U.S. lodging industry.

In the March 2011 edition of Hospitality Market Update we noted that the driving force behind hotel revenue growth in 2011 starts with the price tier segment you are positioned within. The higher the price tier, the greater the projected growth in ADR and, consequently, RevPAR. After analyzing the results of the 2011 Trends® in the Hotel Industry survey, the relationship between price position and hotel profits appears to be as strong as the correlation between room rates and the ability to grow revenue.

According to the 2011 edition of Trends®, hotels in the highest room rate categories achieved the greatest increases in net operating income (hotel NOI) in 2010. Conversely, properties in the lowest rate categories either achieved minor increases in profit or suffered their third consecutive year of bottom line declines.

The full-service properties in the Trends® sample typify this relationship between prices and profits. Within the full-service category, those hotels in the lowest ADR category (less than $100) saw just a slight 0.3 percent increase in profits in 2010. At the other end of the spectrum, upper-upscale and luxury hotels with an ADR greater than $200 enjoyed a strong 33.0 percent gain in profit.

Each year PKF Hospitality Research (PKF-HR) collects financial statements from thousands of hotel owners and operators across the U.S. for its Trends® in the Hotel Industry report. The 2011 Trends® report marks the 75th anniversary of this publication and provides hotel industry benchmarks for 2010 unit-level revenues, expenses, and profits. For the purpose of this report, profits are defined as net operating income before deductions for capital reserves, rent, interest, income taxes, depreciation, and amortization.

Revenue Up For Most Everyone

Nearly 80 percent of hotels in the Trends® sample enjoyed an increase in rooms occupied in 2010, but only 67 percent were able to leverage that into increases in total revenue. On average, the hotels in the Trends® sample achieved a 6.2 percent increase in occupancy, but were unable to raise their room rates. In the aggregate, ADR for the overall sample declined 0.9 percent.

Based on the preceding changes in occupancy and ADR, the Trends® sample averaged a 5.3 percent rise in rooms revenue in 2010. Among the other sources of revenue, food and beverage sales increased 5.6 percent and other operated department revenue rose 2.2 percent, but rentals and other income declined 10.0 percent. The net result was a 4.8 percent increase in total hotel revenue for the overall Trends® sample.

Expense Growth Suppressed

Given the fact that the gains in revenue were driven by growth in the number of rooms occupied, it is not surprising that the costs and expenses to operate a hotel also grew. Total operating expenses increased 3.4 percent in 2010.

While this growth in expenses was more than double the rise in the consumer price index for the year, it is slightly less than expected given the historical expenditure patterns observed during the initial stages of past lodging industry recoveries. Part of the reason for the more modest growth in operating expenses is the continued high rate of unemployment and the resulting lack of pressure on wage rates. Hotel labor costs in the U.S. increased a modest 2.7 percent from 2009 to 2010.

In contrast, the amount spent to purchase all other goods and services needed to operate a hotel (excluding management fees, property taxes, and insurance) climbed 5.3 percent in 2010. The largest increases among these expenditures occurred in the rooms (6.2 percent) and food and beverage (9.3 percent) departments. These higher operated department costs are to be expected, given that revenue growth was driven by increased business volume as opposed to a rise in prices.

Facing dramatic declines in revenue in 2009, hotel managers were effective in cutting all department expenses except fixed charges (property taxes and insurance). As predicted in the 2010 Trends® report, the profit declines in 2009 led to decreases in property values in 2010. Accordingly, fixed charges fell 3.8 percent in 2010, the only expense category to be reduced during the year.

Profit Growth Varied

On average, unit-level NOI for the Trends® sample rose 9.8 percent in 2010, with the ability to grow profits varying by property type. The greatest gains in NOI were achieved by full-service (+14.4%), resort (+10.4%), and convention hotels (+8.7%). Limited-service (+0.5%) and suite hotels with food and beverage (+1.8%) lagged in their ability to generate more dollars on the bottom line. This diversity of performance follows the previously described observation relating profit growth to price positioning.

2011 Outlook

Based on the March 2011 edition of Hotel Horizons®, PKF-HR is forecasting that the average hotel in the U.S. will be able to increase their total revenue by 6.8 percent for the entire year. The revenue growth will come from a relatively equal contribution of increases in occupancy and ADR.

Accordingly, hotel operators will need to continue their diligent efforts to control costs. Assisting management in curbing costs in 2011 will be the continued lack of upward pressure on wages resulting from lingering high levels of unemployment. However, commodity price escalation has already contributed to a rise in utility costs, delivery surcharges, and the cost of goods sold. Cost controls might be what dictates hotel profitability in 2011.

To purchase a copy of the 2011 Trends® in the Hotel Industry report please visit www.pkfc.com/buyannualtrends

PKF Consulting USA offers hotel appraisal and hotel valuation services, hotel market studies, hospitality litigation support, and hotel advisory services. Colliers International Hotels offers hotel brokerage and hotel transaction services. PKF Hospitality Research produces Hotel Horizons®, an econometrically based hotel forecast, BenchmarkerSM, a customized comparative hotel benchmark report, and Annual Trends® in the Hotel Industry, a historical hotel financial publication featuring rich hotel statistics, as well as hotel research services.

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