CBRE Hotels reduces near-term outlook

CBRE is reducing its forecast for hotel performance this year, as weaker-than-expected summer demand resulted in a shortfall in Q2 2023 RevPAR.

The company has revised its forecast for 2023 RevPAR to $96.64, up 4.6% year-over-year (YOY), but down $1.25 from its previous forecast in May. The revision is predicated on a 70-basis-point (bps) decrease in expected occupancy compared with the earlier forecast. ADR is expected to increase by 3.6% in 2023, down 10 bps from the previous forecast.

CBRE’s baseline-scenario forecast anticipates 1.6% average GDP growth and average inflation of 4.3% in 2023. Given the strong correlation between GDP and RevPAR growth, changes in the economic outlook will directly impact lodging industry performance.

“An analysis of travel trends suggests that record numbers of Americans are traveling abroad this summer with a particular focus on Europe and the Caribbean,” said Rachael Rothman, head of hotel research & data analytics, CBRE. “Inbound international travelers to the U.S. are still 27% below their pre-pandemic levels, causing a temporary imbalance in demand. As long-haul flights from Asia are added back and visa delays ease, we expect to see an uptick in inbound international travel to the U.S., supporting further demand growth.”

Demand declined 1.2% YOY in Q2 2023, the first decline since the post-pandemic recovery began in Q2 2021. ADR growth of 2.6% was in-line with CBRE’s previous forecast. The combination of lower-than-expected demand and in-line ADR growth resulted in muted RevPAR growth of 1.1% in Q2 2023, below CBRE’s forecast of 4.4%.

“Historically, there has been a strong correlation between hotel demand and GDP growth,” said Michael Nhu, senior economist/head of global hotels forecasting, CBRE. “This makes the decline in demand in Q2 2023 somewhat surprising given the stronger-than-expected GDP growth in the quarter. This disconnect in trends suggests consumer preferences have temporarily shifted, as more Americans are traveling overseas, particularly to Europe and the Caribbean, rather than traveling domestically.”

The best-performing location type in the quarter was urban, where RevPAR growth increased 4.7%. The weakest location type was resort, where RevPAR declined 3.7%. Despite the pullback in resorts during the quarter, the location type remains nearly 15% above its pre-pandemic levels.

CBRE forecasts that hotel supply will increase at a 1% compound annual growth rate over the next five years, below the industry’s 1.6% long-term historical average.