Hotel construction should remain strong through 2017

More than 100,000 rooms could be delivered this year alone.

January 13, 2016 |

InterContinental Hotels Group and Brack Capital Real Estate recently opened the 293-room Hotel Indigo in Manhattan's Lower East Side. Photo courtesy IHG

It’s all good if you’re in the hotel business.

Occupancy rates in the U.S. are expected to remain at record levels through 2017, according to PKF Hospitality Research|CBRE Hotels, which also projects room rates to increase by 5.5% and 5.8%, respectively, this year and next.

With demand exceeding supply, developers are expected to deliver 103,230 hotel rooms in 865 projects in 2016, according to the latest Comprehensive Pipeline Summary from the market research firm STR.

Through November 2015, the existing supply of hotel rooms nationwide stood at 5,031,859. A total of 457,606 rooms were under construction or in various planning stages.

For all the talk about the rise in demand and construction of luxury hotels, STR foresees the greatest number of hotel rooms—53,725 rooms—being delivered in the “upper midscale” classification, followed by 43,150 “upscale” room deliveries. Conversely, STR estimates that only 15 luxury hotels with 3,468 rooms are expected to open this year.

New York, with an existing supply of 117,367 rooms, leads the nation with 80 hotels and 13,583 rooms under construction, followed by Houston (with 79,255 existing rooms and 6,269 under construction), Dallas (79,572; 4,361), Los Angeles/Long Beach (98,186; 4,240), and Washington, D.C. (107,776; 3,949).

Jan Freitag, STR’s Senior Vice President of Lodging Insights, told USA Today that while room construction was up 21% over a year ago, the 1.5% increase in rooms opening in 2016 would still be below the longer-term annual average of 1.9%

Along from rising customer demand, hotel construction is being driven by room rate appreciation. For example, in Greater Sacramento, Calif., where hotel occupancy rates exceed 77% and where at least 19 hotels are under construction, the average room rates set a record in October at $116.67 per night, up 10.6% from a year earlier, according to PKF Consulting.

However, there’s always the concern that booms will eventually overheat some markets. In Central Dallas, where at least 14 hotels are slated to open between fall 2015 and the end of 2018, investors were bullish about their projects but wondered just how many rooms the market could absorb. 

“I can’t remember when we’ve ever had that influx of hotel rooms, certainly in recent history,” said John Crawford, who heads Downtown Dallas Inc., which advocates for downtown development. “And I’ve been in this market for the last 35 years.”

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