Hotels near Katrina-affected areas see rise in room rates

by Ella FAIRCHILD on August 30, 2010

Five years after Hurricane Katrina brought havoc upon the Golf Coast, the tourism industry is still struggling to recover.

Several Washington area hotel firms have said that they are now beginning to see a rise in profits and occupancy rates after years of dealing with revenue decline, property damage and loss of confidence from consumers in the area.

Marriott International, based in Bethesda, said that revenues per each available revenue has increased 25 per cent during the second quarter of this year. The company currently has six full-service properties in New Orleans and nine other hotels in the surrounding area. The increase has been the first the hotel industry has been able to report for the region since the hurricane devastated the state.

McLean’s Hilton Worldwide, which has not disclosed revenue figures, would say, however that it is expanding in Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi after seeing a growth in the sector. The company will take its number of properties from 100 at the time of the hurricane to 170 from July. Choice Hotels International reported similar surges in occupancy and revenues.
On the whole room rates and occupancy levels are on the rise in the gulf region.

New Orleans, which was the hardest hit by the hurricane, has seen a 67.5 per cent increase up to July, according to Smith Travel Research. Room revenues are at their peak with an average of $81.01 per room.

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