Editor’s Note: This is the thirteenth in a 15-part series (appearing on LodgingMagazine.com each Monday) examining the performance of various markets in the United States. The following is courtesy of Deloitte’s “Hospitality Vision US Performance Review.
Everything’s looking up in Orlando.
STR metrics show that during 2011 (through November), revPAR figures increased 10.9 percent, with average room rates increasing four percent and occupancy rates gaining momentum at 6.6 percent.
Orlando ranked fourth among the 25 most visited cities in the US, according to Concur, a travel services company. Also, for the ninth consecutive year, Orlando remained the most popular summer destination in an American Society of Travel Agents survey, “Hot Spots for Summer”: Orlando came out on top with an 18 percent share of responses. Some local attractions — including SeaWorld Parks' Aquatica — made it onto TripAdvisor's list of the country's Top 10 water parks.
In a bid to carve out new niches from within its existing hotels, Walt Disney World announced plans to convert some of its 25,000 hotel rooms into moderately priced, princess- themed rooms and "health-and-wellness" suites. The initiative includes the company's first new hotel in Orlando in nearly a decade, Disney's Art of Animation Resort: more than half of the roughly 2,000 hotel rooms will be basic suites aimed at budget-conscious families.38 The Orlando Sentinel also reports that Disney generates an estimated $18.2 billion a year in economic activity for Florida, while being responsible for more than one of every 50 jobs in the state. All told, the enterprise (Disney World, Disney Cruise Line, and its Disney Vacation Club) accounts for 2.5 percent of Florida's cumulative gross domestic product.
The 400-room Wyndham Grand Orlando Resort Bonnet Creek opened in October, more than five years after the project was announced. In another project, developers scaled down earlier plans for a 260-room hotel in downtown Orlando and now hope to build a 155-room Cambria Suites instead. If approved by city officials, the $20 million project would be the first newly built hotel in the city center since the Grand Bohemian opened in 2001.39
In April, air traffic increased 5.6 percent. That trend continued in May, the third consecutive month with more than three million passengers arriving and departing from Orlando International Airport. The airport estimates that the total number of passengers for 2011 exceeded 35 million, an approximate two percent increase over the 2010 total. With the addition of several new carriers and additional routes from established airlines, the number of international travelers totaled nearly 3.4 million, a record amount and a more than five percent increase over 2010.