Center for Hospitality Research

Hospitality Leadership Through Learning
Center for Hospitality Research

Competitive Hotel Pricing in Uncertain Times

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Vol 9 No 10
By: Cathy A. Enz Ph.D., Linda Canina Ph.D., and Mark Lomanno

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Executive Summary:

This analysis of the pricing (ADR), demand (occupancy), and revenue (RevPAR) dynamics in the U.S. hotel industry for the period 2001 through 2007 demonstrates the potentially negative consequences of attempting to maintain market share by offering prices below those of direct competitors. This seven-year study examined the outcomes of pricing behavior on total rooms revenue and occupancy for hotels and their competitors in both bad times (2001-2003) and good (2004-2007). The results are the same in both periods. Hotels that offer average daily rates above those of their direct competitors experienced lower occupancies compared to those other hotels, but recorded higher relative RevPARs. For 67,008 hotel observations, this pattern of demand and revenue behavior was consistent for hotels in all market segments, from luxury to economy. Overall the results suggest that the best way to have better revenue performance than your competitors is to have higher average rates. The findings suggest that lodging demand may be inelastic in local markets, and hotel operators may wish to resist the pressure to undercut competitors when possible.

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