Fall Tourist Season Lodging Industry Performance

by L. Taylor Damonte, Ph.D., director of the Clay Brittain Jr. Center for Resort Tourism, and Robert Salvino, director of the Grant Center for Real Estate and Economic Development, E. Craig Wall Sr. College of Business Administration, Coastal Carolina University

The Brittan Center now offers its preliminary estimate of lodging industry performance along the Grand Strand for the fall tourist season of 2018. For analysis purposes, the Center defines the fall tourist season as the 13-week period that includes Labor Day and the Thanksgiving holiday. The table below shows the performance averages reflected in the Center’s most recent samples for the fall season of 2018 and for the equivalent

13 weeks of the five previous years. Based on the Center’s voluntary sample of nightly-rented hotels, condo-hotels and campsites (HC-HCs), average percent occupancy (APO) during this fall was down 6.1 occupancy points or 11.9 percent compared with the fall of 2017 level. During this period of 2018, the average daily rate (ADR) was even with last year, leading to an 11.9 percent decrease in revenue per available unit compared with the same period of 2017. During the month of September this year, the area was impacted by Hurricane Florence. During either September or October of the prior three years, Tropical Storm Joaquin and Hurricanes Matthew, Irma and Maria impacted the area. Readers may want to study the Center’s report on average occupancy during the weeks in which named storms impacted the Myrtle Beach area (2013-2018), which is offered in the Grand Strander, November 2018.

As has been mentioned in previous issues of the Grand Strander, Center researchers believe that vacation (weekly) rental properties (VRPs) may represent between 20-25 percent of the total transient lodging bedrooms available along the Grand Strand. Researchers observe a scientific random sample of VRPs each week on the internet, recording unit availability and advertised prices. Based on the Center’s research, APO for the VRP segment of the lodging industry was up 2.5 occupancy points or 4.5 percent during fall 2018, compared with fall 2017. During this time advertised average daily rate (ADR) per unit increased by 2 percent, which would leave revenue per available unit up 6.6 percent. Forecasters may also want to note that the average daily rate per bedroom (unadjusted for inflation) for the Center’s samples of HC-HCs and VRPs has increased by 27 percent and 3.3 percent, respectively, since 2013.

Center researchers continue to study the tourism impacts of named storms on the Myrtle Beach area, but also storms’ impacts on the broader economy both in the short term and beyond. Results of this analysis will be made publicly available when completed.

If you represent a lodging property located along the Grand Strand and your property does not currently participate in the Brittain Center’s Tourism Economy Study, Center researchers would like to talk with you about the additional analysis that could be available to you as a research participant. For example, research participants receive six-week advance forecasts and moving 52-week average segment level performance estimates each week. We welcome your inquiries at tdamonte@coastal.edu or 843-349-2698.