Meeting News - June 22, 2009 - (Page 20)

Dateline: New York Crowne Plaza Bucks City RevPAR Trend While New York hotels on average are seeing revenue per available room decline, the Crowne Plaza in Times Square, fresh from an $85 million renovation, is defying that trend. The hotel, which first opened in 1990, completed the massive overhaul in December, redesigning the hotel’s 770 rooms, lobby space and almost 25,000 square feet of meeting facilities. Since the completion of the project, the hotel has seen double-digit gains in its RevPAR index every month of this year, according to Nan Molofsky, senior vice president of the hotel’s ownership group City Investment Fund. The Times Square Crowne Plaza renovations are the centerpiece of a brandwide $250 million investment in major renovations of its Americas portfolio. More than 50 Crowne Plaza properties are undergoing some level of renovations, according to parent company InterContinental Hotels Group. By the end of this year, about 50 percent of the 193 hotels in the Americas will have gone through renovation, said Gina LaBarre, Crowne Plaza’s vice president of brand management in the Americas. Crowne Plaza has positioned itself as a meetings-focused brand, with about 40 percent of its business coming from meetings, LaBarre said. This has included its “The Place to Meet” initiative launched in 2003, in which the brand instituted a two-hour response guarantee to meet- By Michael B. Baker The Times Square Crowne Plaza redid rooms, lobby and meeting space. ing business inquiries and a Crowne meetings director appointed to each event to serve as a point of contact for meeting planners, as well as a source for daily debriefings to ensure meetings are running smoothly and within their budgets, she said. r New York Hotel Rates From April 2008 to 2009 Drop 25 Percent New York City hotel rates plummeted by more than 25 percent in April compared with the same period in 2008, the most precipitous drop in average daily rate among major North American markets, according to data released late last month by Smith Travel Research. Though New York was one of only two key North American markets examined by Smith Travel Research—the other being Manitoba/Saskatchewan, Canada—to see an occupancy decrease of less than 5 percent, the city witnessed one of the sharpest rate drops: down 25.5 percent to $203.58, according to the data. Despite the precipitous drop in rate, New York remains the most expensive city in the country in which to spend a night in a hotel, said STR vice president of global development Jan Freitag.“New York City is always in its own universe,” Freitag said.“It was, is and always will be the U.S. rate leader.” Though Freitag said the 25.5 percent decline in average April hotel rate is “significant,” the cost to stay at a hotel in New York remains more than double the national average. Freitag noted, “The next highest average daily rate is Miami at around $155.” The city remains a popular leisure, meetings and business travel destination as evidenced by hotel occupancy levels that fell modestly and remain at around 80 percent, well above the national average. Though Freitag said New York would sustain modest supply growth this year, thanks to hotel development initiated before the recession hit. “Once those rooms are open, built and ready for busi- ness, there are not a whole lot of rooms coming after that,” he said. That means the current rate declines in New York could be short-lived and recover along with the economy. Freitag said, “Once those hotels open in 2009 and 2010, we’re not going to see a whole lot of new rooms coming on line. That’s good news for the hotel industry because we’re expecting to see demand bounce back by the beginning of 2010. Then we’re going to have the reverse: an increase in the demand environment, but not much supply growth.” —Jay Boehmer New York Hotel Rates Fall Fast, But Still Twice As Expensive As U.S. Average Occupancy United States Average New York City *April 2009 vs. April 2008 Annual Change* -11.1% -4.7% Average Daily Rate $98.37 $203.58 Annual Revenue Per Change* Available Room -9.4% -25.5% $55.48 $162.17 Annual Change* -19.5% -29.0% 56.4% 79.7% Source: Smith Travel Research 20 MeetingNews June 22, 2009

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Meeting News - June 22, 2009

Meeting News - June 22, 2009
Collier County Insert
Meetings Spotlight
MeetingNews Research
Association Watch
Construction Cites
Meeting People
Event Profile
Travel Dashboard
Dateline: Bermuda
Dateline: New York
South Regional
Las Vegas Insert

Meeting News - June 22, 2009