EXECUTIVE SENTIMENT CREEPS UP

The current Lodging Executives Sentiment Index, or LESI, reading is up at 73.8 from last period's 72.1 but down from 79.8 during the same period last year. The LESI indicates continued economic expansion in the lodging sector with this period's Present Situation Index suggesting an incrementally slower rate of change in business activity to 78.6 from 80.8 last period and 90.5 in the same period a year ago.

The Future Expectations Index is 69.0, a slightly faster pace than 63.5 last period but the same as last year's reading. A reading greater than 50 indicates that the lodging industry is generally growing and below 50, declining. The distance from 50 indicates the strength of expansion or decline.

Just below 62, or 61.9, percent of respondents indicated that current business conditions were good — up ever so slightly from 61.5 percent last period — with 33.3 percent calling them normal, compared to 38.5 percent last period. Nearly five percent of the respondents indicated current business conditions were bad. In regard to the future, 47.6 percent of the lodging executives thought business conditions will improve in the next 12 months (as against 46.2 percent last period) and 42.8 percent feel they will be the same (versus 50 percent last period). About 10 percent indicated business conditions would be worse 12 months from now, versus 3.8 percent last period.

Lodging executives expect a slight increase in volume of rooms reservations as compared to last period: The Reservations Expectations Index reads 76.2 as against last period's index reading of 73.1, with a 78.6 index reading last year. This index asks executives to project rooms reservations over the next 12 months as compared to the last 12 months. A hair over 57 (57.1) percent indicated they expected rooms reservations to increase in the next 12 months, while 38.1 percent felt they would stay the same; only 4.8 percent felt they would decrease over the next 12 months.

The Lodging Employment Index flatlined against last period's reading of 70.0 and and was significantly down from last year's reading of 76.3. Forty-five percent of the executives, versus 44 percent last period, indicated they plan to add non-management employees in the next 12 months, while half expect to maintain present levels, down from 52 percent last period. Five percent of the executives reported they were going to lay off non-management employees. This index asks executives to project nonmanagement staffing levels over the coming year, either adding, maintaining or decreasing.

The LESI is maintained by the University of New Hampshire's Hospitality Management Department. A leading indicator in the lodging sector, it is based on opinions of lodging executives and satisfies the need for real-time information.

for executive decision-making in the lodging industry.

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