U.S. hotels expected to spend $5 billion on improvements in 2012

All of those shiny new amenities you’ve seen at your hotel lately — fitness equipment, flat-screen TVs and redesigned lobbies — are part of a trend at hotels across the country.

Hotels are expected to spend $5 billion on improvements in 2012, a 33% increase over 2011, according to Bjorn Hanson, a dean at New York University’s Preston Robert Tisch Center for Hospitality, Tourism and Sports Management.

The spending still falls below the high mark of 2008, when the hotel business was booming and the industry spent $5.5 billion.

What are hotels spending all that money on? The added amenities include redesigned rooms, new bedding and beds, high-speed Internet access, flat-screen TVs, renovated restaurants and upgraded exercise rooms, Hanson said. Most of the spending has gone to renovate lobbies.


“If the lobby looks like it’s recently been renovated, it projects on the rest of the hotel,” Hanson said.

Hotel owners are spending more partly because they are enjoying higher occupancy and daily rates than in the last few years, he said. But also, the managers of big-chain hotel brands are pressing independent hotel owners to make upgrades that had been deferred because of the tough economy.

Not to mention, hotel guests have been complaining about tired-looking hotel facilities, he said.

“Individual brands and hotels are receiving complaints in comment cards and things like that,” Hanson said.


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