Meeting Mentor Magazine

December 2018

Cover Story

A Sobering Long-Term Forecast For the U.S. Lodging Industry

For nearly two decades, Bjorn Hanson, Ph.D., was the architect of PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) Annual Lodging Industry Forecast, long considered the gold standard in the hospitality field. Now a professor at New York University’s Tisch Center, his analysis remains a barometer for many in the hospitality industry.

While there are no surprises in his consensus outlook for 2010, Hanson sees a number of fundamentals that will challenge the industry for years to come. According to Smith Travel Research, one key lodging metric, Revenue Per Available Room (RevPAR) will decline only 4 to 5 percent next year. But that number comes on top of “The Perfect Storm” that saw a 17 percent drop in 2009.

“Historically,” said Hanson, “we’ve seen numbers like this twice before. But never for a period this long.”

He cautioned against reading too much into what he termed false positives. “Attendance numbers that associations report may be equal to or even higher than 2009, but how do they compare with 2007 or 2008?” he asked. “You also need to look at the percentage of attendees staying outside the block. Discounting may increase market share

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