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Finally, Good Industry News: Hotels and Country Clubs Ramping Up for Busy Season

In a world of what seems to be a lot of doom-and-gloom news for the hospitality industry, there is now some good news. Both the country club and hotel segments of the industry are showing signs of increased business. This glimmer of hope for the industry is welcomed news as we enter into the busy holiday travel season.

Hotels Celebrating

Hotels celebrating the holiday season have always tried to put on a good show for its clientele. For some, the Covid-19 pandemic put a damper on this tradition, but this season is different. For example, The Broadmoor, in Colorado Springs, CO, has a 10-foot-tall “Gingerbread Chateau,” and gingerbread decorating classes for kids and breakfast with Santa.

To keep the Christmas festivities even more lively for children, the hotel also offers The Broadmoor Manitou and Pikes Peak Cog Railway. This short train ride offers photo ops with Santa at the depot. Also, the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess hotel in Scottsdale, AZ, puts on an animated holiday light show, a four-lane ice slide, VIP igloos, two skating rinks, trains and more than six million lights.

This is only two of many examples of hotels ramping up for the season. This increase of hotels going back to investing in festivities to celebrate the holidays is a good sign for the industry. A recent report found that hotels are experiencing a 52% occupancy rate in 2021, up from 44% in 2020. Other great news for the hotel industry is that people are planning on having longer hotel stays.

Travel

A recent PWC report found that continued growth in both occupancy and ADR is expected, with a year-over-year rebound in RevPAR of 14.4%, approximately 93% of pre-pandemic levels. ADR in Q3 and Q4 2022 is expected to surpass comparable 2019 levels.

Graphic of Hotel occupancy rates growing pre-season

According to Statista, in 2021, the market size of the hotel industry is forecast to reach $133 billion, compared to $93 billion in 2020. The pent-up demand in travel is one of the reasons for this increase. As the hotel industry expands, hotel room prices are increasing too. This began back in July 2021 when the average daily room rate (ADR) for the week of July 4 was $139.84, which is 5.4% higher than the comparable week in 2019.

All of this is just a prelude to what can be expected in 2022. According to the experts, 82% of hoteliers expect to outperform 2020 revenue levels by the end of this year. Additionally, over 47% expect to recover financially to pre-pandemic levels in 2022. While 36% report that their business revenue has already exceeded or will reach the benchmark by the end 2021.

The performance of US hotels increased in December according to STRs latest data. New York City reported the highest weekly occupancy level (81.5%) of any STR-defined U.S. market. NYC’s occupancy level was 13.0% lower than the 2019 comparable.

Average daily rate of hotel oocupancy in season

Join the Club

All aspects of the hospitality industry were impacted by the pandemic—some severely. But thankfully, the country club segment did not suffer as much as other areas.

While hotels and restaurants experienced record low revenues during the pandemic, country clubs continued to thrive posting record number of memberships.

This was due partly because unlike other businesses in the hospitality industry, country clubs are exclusive. They typically only attract clientele who can afford it. And partly because they offer socially-distanced outdoor activities and amenities allowing people to escape without interference from CDC guidelines.

The increased interest in golf has also helped country clubs. According to the Wall Street Journal, golf associations reported a 20.6% increase in interest year-over-year for the month of August 2020. Other segments of the industry were not able to capitalize on this trend. To keep this trend alive during the holiday and winter season, some clubs are creating indoor golfing activities.

According to a recent Club and Resort Business report, some country clubs are turning to simulation technology. This allows club owners to create indoor training centers that enable golfers to perfect their performance, regardless of  weather conditions. For example, in May 2021, Chimney Oaks Golf Club in Homer, GA built a brand-new indoor facility, The Forge, to cater to the demands of those who prefer to golf year-round.

Continuing the Ramp-Up

Finding talent still seems to be one of the greatest concerns for those in these two industry sectors. But operators of hotel and country club businesses are battling back with hiring tactics. From higher pay, sign-on bonuses and perks for workers to technology to help offer customized work schedules and flex time.

Things are no where near normal, but the hotel and country club industry is rebounding to  a vastly improved state compared to the past two years. A survey of over 500 industry professionals found that over half of them predicts that 2022 will be the year of complete travel recovery. Until that happens, operators in these sectors have to continue to bend and flex as needed.

That’s at least one thing we’ve all learned from the pandemic is to be adaptable and open to change. For those that have, the rewards are coming. As new seasons come, greater opportunities arise for every segment of the hospitality industry to prosper.

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