Friday, November 13, 2009

September Hotel Performance Lower but Still Ahead of National Trends

September's hotel performance statistics are in and while room demand is moderately down over September 2008, the city remains one of the least adversely affected Canadian markets in 2009.

Room demand is down 5.9% over September 2008. Occupancy levels have dropped to 73.7% from 79% a year ago and average daily room rates have increased from $94.64 to $98.18. Within this time frame an additional 1% of room capacity has been added to the 2288 rooms in the district inventory largely through expansion of existing properties. In essence, while occupancy and room demand is down, it appears that increased revenue through the increased average daily room rates could offset the room demand drop. Theoretically, properties aren't necessarily taking in any less gross revenues than last September

For the year to date, hotel performance is down 2.1% compared to the end of Q3 2008. While down, it still remains the 3rd strongest hotel market for 2008 after the red hot Regina/Saskatoon market and Quebec City. Its important to look at the performance within the context of the environment we're all operating in and compare to other national markets to identify the true opportunities and threats. The truth remains that for our urban tourism industry, the sky is definitely not falling. We do, however, have to remain vigilant, know our performance, understand our markets and respond pragmatically.

This September's decrease over 2008 is likely tied to a number of factors including poor weather that impacted fall touring in the leisure segment, a constriction of corporate overnight meeting and convention travel and the fact that the end of September 2008 saw 450 participants beginning to arrive in Thunder Bay for the Canadian Armed Forces SAREX competitions.

However, its also important for us to review this data, identify low periods and plan adjustments to our future tourism marketing and promotion strategy to help rebuild market share. Our recently released new meeting and convention attraction program and a larger hands on presence at Canada's leading convention planners industry showcases, the introduction of the inaugural September 2010 Thunder Bay marathon and adjustments to our participation in Lake Superior touring promotion are all underway to rebuild traffic for next year.

To follow national hotel performance trends yourself, visit

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