Hotel Construction Pipeline for US, Africa, Middle East: STR Report

The hotel market data and benchmarking firm's October 2017 Pipeline Report saw some slowing in the U.S. hotel construction, with cities like New York, Houston, Los Angeles and Seattle seeing year-over-year decreases in construction of hotel rooms.

Bobby Bowers, senior VP, operations, STR
Bobby Bowers, senior VP, operations, STR

Fewer hotels are under construction in the United States for the first time since the fall of 2011 and the pipeline of projects isn’t expected to increase any time soon, according to a recent STR report. But the good news is that there were more hotel rooms under contract compared with October 2016. 

STR’s October 2017 Pipeline Report shows 584,052 keys in 4,869 projects under contract in the U.S., a 5.4 percent increase. However, there were 183,187 keys in 1,407 projects in the construction phase, a 0.1 percent decrease year-over-year, STR noted.

“This is the first time there has been a year-over-year decrease in U.S. hotel construction since October 2011. The construction total also fell 2.8 percent from the previous month, and with the Final Planning and Planning stages not moving up significantly, we can expect to see slowing in pipeline numbers in the coming months,” Bobby Bowers, STR’s senior VP for operations, said in a prepared statement.

Under contract data includes projects in the in construction, final planning and planning stages but not projects that are in the unconfirmed stage.

By The Numbers

New York City had the most keys under contract in October (24,858) among the top 26 markets, with 12,702 in construction, a 23.2 percent decrease from October 2016 when 16,546 were being added to the city’s hospitality offerings. Three other markets also had more than 15,000 keys under contract in October: Dallas (18,712); Orlando (16,210) and Houston (15,979). Cities with more than 5,000 keys in construction were Dallas (6,685); Nashville (5,472) and Las Vegas (5,125). Of the top U.S. markets, only Norfolk/Virginia Beach in Virginia saw less than 1,000 hotel rooms in construction, reporting just 302 keys for the month.

“In September, ADR decreased in the Top 25 markets for the first time since the recovery period began. New supply continues to pressure occupancy levels and rates in these markets,” Bowers added.

Nashville saw the largest year-over-year increase in hotel room construction, rising 67.5 percent from 3,267 to 5,472; Boston also had a large surge, going from 2,608 keys under construction in October 2016 to 3,943 this October, a 51.2 percent increase. Other markets seeing decreases included Houston with a 22.1 percent drop from 5,747 in October 2016 to 4,475 this year; Los Angeles/Long Beach in California going down 17.9 percent from 5,397 to 4,432 this October and Seattle recording a 15.7 percent decrease from 5,047 to 4,254.

STR reported some construction slowdowns earlier in the U.S. hotel market too. While the overall increase was 15 percent from April 2016 to April 2017, Bowers noted that increase was lower than at the same time the previous year and may have signaled the beginning of a slowing development period.

Africa, The Middle East

The lag in U.S. hotel construction comes while construction is up in the Middle East, where there is also a 5.1 percent increase in rooms under contract, according to STR’s October 2017 Pipeline Report for the Middle East and Africa. There were 166,774 keys in 580 hotel projects under contract in the Middle East in October.

The Middle East saw an 18.1 percent increase in the in construction phase in October with 99,790 rooms in 314 projects. Five key markets in the Middle East reported more than 4,000 hotel rooms in construction: Dubai, United Arab Emirates (29,226 rooms in 95 projects); Makkah, Saudi Arabia (23,791 rooms in 18 projects); Doha, Qatar (8,878 rooms in 38 projects); Riyadh, Saudi Arabia (6,349 rooms in 29 projects) and Abu Dhabi, UAE (4,124 rooms in 12 projects).

STR reported the news out of Africa was less positive with a 4.6 percent decrease in rooms under contract compared to October 2016. There were 26,599 rooms in 149 projects in the in construction phase, down 11.4 percent year-over-year.

The development pipeline data comes about a week after another STR report on occupancy rate, average daily rate and revenue per available room for the first nine months of the year found broad economic trends including steady job creation and rising consumer spending helped continue an industry upswing that started in early 2010.Year-to-date through September U.S. hotels generated all-time highs in occupancy rate, ADR and RevPAR for the first nine months of 2017. STR reported year-to-date occupancy of 67.4 percent, a 40-basis point increase from the same period in 2016. ADR saw a 2.0 percent increase while RevPAR had a 2.6 percent improvement. However, part of that 2.6 percent increase was due to the hurricanes in Houston and Texas, where displaced residents, media and relief workers sought hotel rooms.

Photo courtesy of STR