In the most recent lodging data for the Southeast released last week by Vermont-based Inntopia in their DestiMetrics Monthly Market Briefing, participating destination communities at seven resorts in four southeastern states including South Carolina, Florida, Georgia and Alabama are maintaining consistent occupancy and revenues for both the month of June and the full summer season.
As of June 30, aggregated results for the month of June showed a 3.5 percent increase in actual occupancy compared to June 2017 while the Average Daily Rate (ADR) edged up 2.5 percent for the same period. The combination of higher occupancy and rates led to a 6.1 percent increase in revenue for the month.
For the full summer season measured from March through August, as of June 30 occupancy is up a moderate 3.4 percent compared to the same time last year and ADR is up a slight 1.5 percent. The modest boost in both figures is delivering a 4.7 percent gain in revenue for the full summer season compared to last year at this time
“The big news in the Southeast region this month is the lack of big news, and that is actually a good thing,” observed Tom Foley, vice president of Business Intelligence for Inntopia. “We’re seeing the results of a strong marketplace, well-established destination products and a receptive audience that responds to the strategic marketing of our participating properties,” he continued. “The strength of this summer’s current actual figures for the first four months of the summer, along with solid bookings for the remaining months of July and August, are indicating a very good summer unless serious storm weather or a significant economic shift conspire to alter the situation.”
The Monthly Market Briefing also emphasized the potential of economic indicators and geopolitical news on bookings for the coming months at southeast resort destinations. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) declined 1.2 percent in June and marked the third decline in 2018. The Briefing pointed out sharp gains in the first two weeks of June, followed by dramatic declines in the second half of the month and suggested the erratic pattern could have a negative influence on investors, employers, and consumers.
Following its May rally, the Consumer Confidence Index (CCI) also dipped 1.9 percent in June for the third decline in four months. However, it remains 7.9 percent higher than June 2017 and, while consumers may be feeling more cautious, for destinations in the southeast region, there is currently no evidence that the slight slip will cause a significant slowing of current steady booking patterns. An additional 213,000 new jobs were added during June to sustain the strong job creation trend of the past year. However, the Unemployment Rate rose from 3.8 percent to four percent as an estimated 601,000 prospective workers entered the hiring-friendly job market during June.
“Although unemployment remains 40 basis points below where it was one year ago, there are growing concerns that international trade disputes could have a negative impact on job creation and hiring,” cautioned Foley.
The Briefing also tracks a six-month forward look at booking patterns and rate. Going into the fall months, bookings made in June for arrivals in the months of June through November are up 7.7 percent compared to the same time last year. Increases in bookings for arrivals were up in each of those months except for July which was down a scant 0.1 percent. And although it is still early in the fall booking season, the month of November was up a strong 27.2 percent compared to last year at this time.
“The strength of the summer season in the Southeast is really a testament to the marketing organizations and property managers throughout the region who are very effective at marketing their mature product while managing rates strategically as circumstances dictate,” Foley concluded.