SENTIMENT STAYS STRONG

The Lodging Executives Sentiment Index (LESI) continues to reflect the strong expansion in the hotel industry. This month's mark of 86.1 compares to last period's reading of 85.9. The Present Situation Index posted its highest reading ever at 98.1, versus 93.8 last period and the previous all-time high of 97.4.

Lodging executives aren't quite as optimistic about the coming months: the Future Expectations Index mark of 74.1 is a bit lower than the 78.1 reading last period. The Reservation Expectations Index is down a bit as well, to 85.2 from 90.6 last month and 88.1 a year ago.

A LESI index reading greater than 50 indicates that the industry is generally expanding and below 50, the lodging sector is generally declining. The distance from 50 shows the strength of the expansion or decline. As mentioned in previous articles, LESI index readings in the low 90s and high 80s range indicate a tremendously healthy business environment for the lodging sector.

Nearly every lodging executive (96.3 percent) responding to the monthly LESI survey says present business conditions are good compared to the 3.7 percent who believe business is normal. None say business is bad. About three-fourths of respondents predict that reservations will increase over the next 12 months. However, this is less than the 81.3 percent in last month's survey who forecast an increase in reservations over the next 12 months.

The LESI Employment Index shows a slight increase (77.8 versus 73.3 at the previous reading and 76.2 during the same period a year ago to date). Fifty-nine percent of executives expect to add employees in the next 12 months. A little more than a third of the sample expects to keep the total number of non-management employees the same; just 3.7 percent plan to reduce the number of workers.

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