Hotel occupancy, other lodging stats on the rise in May
HOTELS IN PROVIDENCE, Warwick, Newport and Middletown reported strong activity during May, the first month of the tourist season. Above, front desk agent Gavin O'Brien shows Katrina and Sean Northrup of Washingtonville, N.Y., a map of downtown Newport as they check in to the Hotel Viking.
PROVIDENCE – The four communities with the most hotels in the state – Providence, Warwick, Newport and Middletown – saw healthy increases in activity almost across the board in May as the tourist season kicked off.
“These are good numbers,” said Discover Newport CEO and President Evan Smith, echoing similar comments by his colleagues in Warwick and Providence. “We’re happy. It’s a good start to the year.”
According to Smith Travel Research’s lodging statistics provided to the Providence Warwick Convention & Visitors Bureau and Discover Newport, hotel occupancy increased 3.5 percent in Providence this past May compared with May 2013, rising to 75.7 percent from 73.1 percent, said Kristen Adamo, the visitors bureau’s vice president of marketing and communications.
Likewise, Warwick hotel occupancy increased 6.9 percent, from 69.4 percent in May 2013 to 74.3 percent in May 2014, said Karen Jedson, the city’s director of the Department of Tourism, Culture and Development.
In Newport, Smith cited a 10.9 percent increase in hotel occupancy, from 64.8 percent in May 2013 to 71.8 percent this past May.
While Newport County, which is focused chiefly on the hotel stock in Middletown, saw hotel occupancy decline 2.7 percent, from 58.2 percent last May to 56.6 percent this year, its average daily rate of hotel rooms increased, Smith said, from $127.04 to $138.97. So while fewer rooms were occupied, visitors were paying more for the rooms they stayed in, he said.
In addition to Middletown, other Newport County towns included in assessments by Smith Travel Research include Jamestown, Portsmouth, Little Compton and Tiverton.
Another measure of lodging, revenue per available room, increased across the board – 11.3 percent in Providence, 9.6 percent in Warwick, 10 percent in Newport and 5.1 percent in Newport County.
Since Newport and Newport County produce almost 75 percent of their hotel revenue between May and October, Smith said, “what this means to me is that the first month of the big six [months] performed very well. So, it’s a bellwether that the economy is strengthening, the Consumer Confidence Index is stronger and our marketing plans are working. And that’s a good thing.”
Smith, Adamo and Jedson attributed the increases to meetings or conference business underscoring the standard activity from graduations, as well as weddings and marketing techniques.
“We are doing some very heavy campaigning in the Boston and Connecticut markets,” said Jedson. “We’re looking for that low-lying fruit and we believe our exposure as a destination is helping our hotels.”