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A research firm is predicting a modest slowdown in the U.S. lodging industry this year—a 4.5 percent gain in revenue per room over the previous year. It is the slowest growth pace in five years.
In a news release, PKF Hospitality Research forecast a .7 percent decline in occupancy levels and a 5.3 percent increase in average daily room rates, resulting in the 4.5 percent gain.
It’s the slowest pace of growth since the industry began recovering from the 2001-2003 industry recession, the news release states.
In Brunswick County, Tourism Development Authority executive director Mitzi York concurred that there had been a decline in growth so far this fiscal year.
“We had seen just a small increase so far this fiscal year, so the trend seems to be kind of holding true for Brunswick County,” York said.
Authority members will be discussing the issue at upcoming meetings. At the January meeting, the board will see the data through November, and according to York, “it will be much easier to see what the trend is for a year.”
In the next few months, authority members will be talking about better using its database of contacts to keep up with visitors and potential visitors to keep them coming back.
York said she and the TDA are continuing to work on improving the Web site, ncbrunswickislands.com, and the second phase is now under development.
“We’re going to continue to enhance our Web site and look at how we can better utilize our database and the Internet to get more customers and to keep the people coming to the Brunswick islands.”
York said the authority keeps up with trends and also does its own research. Last month, the members heard the results of a conversion study, which revealed that more than 43 percent of people who inquire about visiting Brunswick County’s beaches actually spend their vacations there.
The study also revealed that the Internet is the primary tool people use to plan visits, that visitors prefer a traditional beach house 3 to 1 over a larger home with additional amenities, that allowing pets in accommodations is “both a demand and a preference” for many inquirers and that more than 80 percent of those who have yet to plan a vacation would be likely to visit within a year.
“One of the reasons we do like to do this kind of research like we did in December is we want to make sure our current marketing is working and what our visitors are thinking,” York said.