High occupancy rates for Long Island hotels are projected to continue next year, with average room rates expected to increase more than the national average, according to research commissioned by the Long Island Convention & Visitors Bureau and Sports Commission.
The industry forecast, presented Wednesday at a luncheon held at the Melville Marriott Long Island, projects that Island lodging will command higher revenue per room, driven in part by increased business from groups, such as business expos and corporate functions.
Overall, the U.S. hotel market “is at the highest occupancy it’s seen since 2001,” said Alison Hoyt, director of consulting and analytics for Smith Travel Research (STR), which prepared the forecast. While occupancy rates are at peak levels in many markets, the Island stands out for its projected growth in room rates, she said.
Average daily room rates on the Island are projected to grow by 3.3 percent, as compared to about 3.1 percent for the nation overall. The Island’s average room rate was $145.60 in July.
STR projects “certainly more rate growth on Long Island than we’ve seen in some other areas of New York,” Hoyt said. “New York City, specifically, has not been able to grow rates, and Long Island has been.”
Projections were calculated based on data obtained from 65 percent of Island hotel rooms. There are 17,000 to 18,000 rooms on Long Island, according to estimates from Mike Johnston, former president of the Long Island Hospitality and Leisure Association.
Officials with the convention and visitors bureau said the forecast provides insight into what it has previously suspected.
“It definitely validates our need for more convention and meeting space as we see the group market segment being the one that’s starting to drive growth,” said Kristen Jarnagin, president and chief executive of the tourism bureau.