LODGING EXPANSION CONTINUES

The Lodging Executives Sentiment Index (LESI) continues to climb and was slowed just a little this period — to 81.3 from 81.6 — reflecting almost no change from last period. This period's Present Situation Index reads slightly lower at 78.1 from 81.6 last period, and the Future Expectations Index increased to 84.4 from 81.6. The Lodging Reservations Expectations Index, designed to corroborate the Lodging Future Expectations Index, mimics the future expectations, reading exactly at 84.4 this period, down from 86.8 last period.

The LESI and all its sub-components indicate continued economic expansion in the lodging sector. An index reading greater than 50 indicates that the lodging industry is generally expanding and below 50, the sector is generally declining, The distance from 50 indicates the strength of the expansion or decline. The LESI, created almost four years ago, is a leading economic indicator in the lodging sector and is based on opinions/sentiments of lodging executives. The LESI was developed and is maintained by LodgingForecast.

A little more than half of lodging executives responding to the LESI survey say current business conditions are good, with 44 percent indicating current conditions are normal. Seven in 10 executives believe business conditions will be better in the next 12 months, with 31 percent saying that conditions will be the same; none say business will be worse 12 months from now.

Lodging executives continue to have an optimistic perspective on future business conditions. The Reservations Expectations Index reading of 84.4 is identical to the Future Expectations Index and indicates slightly slower expansion from last period's index reading of 86.8. The Reservations Expectation Index asks lodging executives to project rooms reservations over the next 12 months as compared to the last 12. Sixty-nine percent of those surveyed expect reservations to increase in the next 12 months; none feel reservations will decrease.

The Lodging Employment Index stands at 62.5 versus last period's reading of 60.5, a very slight increase due perhaps to staffing up for summer travel. Forty-four percent of executives expect to add non-management employees over the next 12 months, while 37.5 percent expect to keep the total number of non-management employees the same; 18.5 percent say they plan to lay off employees. The Lodging Employment Index asks lodging industry executives whether, over the next 12 months, they expect to add the total number of non-management employees, keep the number about the same or reduce the total number of non-management employees.

The Lodging Executive's Sentiment Index follows the Institute of Supply Management's (ISM) Index as well as other reporting institutions' method of tracking leading indicators, and the LESI satisfies the need for real-time information for executive decision-making in the lodging industry.

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