Monday, January 18, 2010

More Hotels Opening in 2010

by Bill McBride on 1/18/2010 02:02:00 PM

Here is a followup to my earlier post about more hotel rooms coming online amid the worst occupancy slump since the Great Depression ...

From Jane Levere at the NY Times: Ailing Hotel Industry Is on Brink of Major Expansion

Though it may seem counterintuitive at a time when many hotels around the country are having trouble filling their rooms, nearly 100 hotels are scheduled to open in major American cities this year.

New York will have the most new hotels, 46, according to Smith Travel Research, a hotel research company in Hendersonville, Tenn., followed by Houston with 30. New hotels are opening as well in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Miami, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. That does not include new hotels opening in the suburbs of these cities.

So how can so many hotels be opening even though the economy and travel remain so slow?

The answer, according to Mark Lomanno, president of Smith Travel Research, is that “hotel building cycles rarely mesh just right with economic cycles.” Planning a new hotel can take two to four years and construction another one to four years. ...
This is probably the final surge in hotel construction related to the CRE bubble.

Lodging Investment as Percent of GDP Click on graph for larger image in new window.

This graph shows investment in lodging as a percent of GDP since 1959 through Q3 2009 (data from BEA).

Even though lodging investment is falling rapidly, the level is still very high from a historical perspective because, as Mark Lomanno noted, it takes several years to finish major hotel projects.

As these hotels are completed in 2010, lodging investment will fall to low levels for several years as happened in previous investment busts. And that means more construction job losses are coming.