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Katrina's surprising effect on hospitality industry

While Katrina was devastating in so many ways, it sounds, from this Smith Travel Research Report, like it's not going to have too bad an effect on the hospitality industry:

    Smith increased its 2005 RevPAR growth projection for the total US from 7.6% up to 8.2%. 'Despite the obvious attrition from displaced business, the increase in Katrina related emergency travel combined with the relocated meetings demand to other cities will have a meaningful impact on occupancies,' stated Randy Smith, CEO and founder of STR.

    Added Mark Lomanno, president of STR: 'Some of our client hotels, despite being closed to the public, house FEMA workers, evacuees and clean-up crews and keep reporting revenues and occupancies to us. We conservatively estimate occupancies in hotels that were not closed due to this disaster to be substantially above average for the rest of the year. Nationally, the decrease in room supply due to Katrina's impact coupled with the already strong overall hotel demand allows us to revise our 2005 year-end estimates upward.'

It also projects average daily rates to be up 5 percent, and RevPar up more than 8 percent.

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