AH&LA Lodging Industry Profile: 2010 a 'Transition' Year

Last year, the U.S. lodging industry reported $16 billion in pre-tax profits and $127.2 billion in sales — down from $25.8 billion and $140.6 billion, respectively, in 2008 — according to the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA), which last week released the results of its annual industry analysis, the AH&LA Lodging Industry Profile.

"With the softening of the economy in Q4 of 2008 and into 2009, our industry saw an end to our six-year streak of increased profitability," AH&LA President and CEO Joe McInerney said in a statement. "The industry suffered a one-two punch between the fallout from the 2007 credit crisis and the Lehman Bros collapse in September 2008, with financing for hotel construction and renovation going by the wayside. After two years of streamlining budgets, cutting staffs and revising service protocols, the industry is lean and ready for recovery, and 2010 is being billed a transition year."

Like profits and sales, the number of international travelers visiting the United States also fell last year, declining 6 percent to 23.8 million, according to AH&LA, which said travelers from the following 10 countries accounted for 80 percent of overseas visitors:

1. Canada (18 million)
2. Mexico (13.2 million)
3. The United Kingdom (3.9 million)
4. Japan (2.9 million)
5. Germany (1.7 million)
6. France (1.2 million)
7. Brazil (893,000)
8. Italy (753,000)
9. South Korea (744,000)
10. Australia (724,000)

According to AH&LA, which analyzed data from 50,800 U.S. lodging properties, hotels' sales contributed to an overall $704 billion in tourism-related sales last year, with expenditures by both domestic and international travelers totaling an estimated $1.9 billion per day, $80 million per hour, $1.3 million per minute and $22,300 per second. Those sales helped support $186 billion in travel-related wages and salaries, according to AH&LA, and 1.7 million hotel industry jobs.