Lodging Executive Sentiment Droops

The current Lodging Executives Sentiment Index reads 44.0, down from 45.8 last period and 73.8 during the same period last year. The drop indicates continuing decline in hospitality expansion.

A reading greater than 50 indicates lodging is expanding while one lower than 50 suggests decline. The Present Situation Index registers a significantly faster decrease in business activity, reading 38.0 this period as against last period's 52.1 and 78.6 during the same period a year ago.

The Future Expectations Index reading of 50.0 indicates neither expansion nor decline. Last period's reading of 39.6 suggests that lodging executives think that success is just around the corner, though some suggest impending gloom in their margin notes. Meanwhile, the Future Expectations Index of 50.0, versus last period's 39.6, is quite a turnaround in lodging-executive sentiment. A year ago, however, the Future Expectations Index was 69.0.

Twelve percent of respondents indicated current business conditions were good as against 16.7 percent last period; 52 percent termed them normal, down from 71.0 percent last period. Thirty-six percent of the lodging executives responding to the poll indicated business conditions were bad, a major jump from 12.5 percent last period.

Twenty-four percent indicated business will improve in the next 12 months, significantly more than last period's 4.2 but similar to two periods ago, when 27.5 percent registered that sentiment; 52 percent feel business conditions will be the same, versus 71.0 percent last period. As for the pessimists, 24 percent, versus 25.0 percent last period, felt business would be worse 12 months from now.

The Reservations Expectation Index, which asks lodging executives to project rooms reservations over the next 12 months as compared to the last 12 months, flatlined, showing a decline in the volume of reservations identical to last period's 41.3 reading. 17.4 percent of the executives indicated they expect rooms reservations to increase in the next 12 months, up from 13.0 percent last period. Nearly half — 47.8 percent — felt rooms reservations would stay the same, down from 56.5 percent last period, and 34.8 percent indicated reservations would decrease in the next 12 months, compared to 30.4 percent last period.

The Lodging Employment Index declined to 52.1 from last period's reading of 58.7 and 70.0 last year at this time; 33.3 percent of the executives, versus 34.8 percent last period, indicated they expect to add non-management employees in the next 12 months, 37.5 percent expect to maintain current levels (down from 47.8 percent last period) and 29.2 percent, versus 17.4 percent last period, expect to lay off workers.

The LESI, a leading economic indicator in lodging, is based on opinions of lodging executives. The University of New Hampshire's Hospitality Management Department developed and prepares it.

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