Sentiments on Downward Path

The Lodging Executives Sentiment Index reading is still slipping. For the current period, it's 69.6, as against last period's 72.3 and 79.3 during the same period last year. Though that index suggests continued economic expansion in the lodging sector, the Future Expectations Index dropped steeply this period, its reading 53.6 versus last period's 66.1 and the 69.6 reading of a year ago.

The Present Situation Index's rate of change moved faster than last period to 85.7 versus 78.6. That reading kept the LESI from dipping further, given the dire predictions of the Future Situation. The Future Situation Index direction of business activity is corroborated with the Reservations Expectations Index reading of 55.4, a precipitous drop from 64.3 last period. The Future Expectations and Reservations Expectations indices read 69.6 and 71.7, respectively, a year ago to date. At 53.6, the Future Expectations Index' direction of business activity is only slightly above the expansion threshold as a reading below 50 indicates that the lodging industry is generally in decline. One greater than 50 indicates the sector is generally expanding. The LESI is a leading economic indicator for lodging reported by a survey of lodging executives on a monthly basis.

71.4 percent of respondents called current business conditions good, up significantly from 57 percent last period, while 28.6 percent — versus 43 percent last period — called them normal. None of the executives polled indicated those conditions were bad. With regard to future business conditions, 28.6 percent of the lodging executives thought conditions will improve in the next 12 months, versus 43.1 percent last period, and 21.4 percent felt conditions would be worse. far less than last period at 10.7 percent.

The Reservations Expectation Index asks lodging executives to project rooms reservations over the next 12 months as compared to the last 12 months. About 30 percent indicated they expect rooms reservations to increase in the next 12 months as against 35.7 percent last period. 53.5 percent felt reservations would stay the same this period compared to 57.1 percent last period, and 17.9 percent felt they would decrease over the next 12 months compared to 7.3 percent last period.

The Lodging Employment Index indicates a decrease to 63.0 this period as against last period's reading of 70.0 and last year's reading of 68.5 this period is up from 63.0 last period (and 69.6 last year). Just below 41 percent (40.7 percent) of the executives indicated they were going to increase the total number of non-management employees. 55.6 percent expect to keep current levels.

The LESI, a leading economic indicator in lodging that is based on opinions of lodging executives, satisfies the need for real-time information for executive decisionmaking in that industry.

It was developed and is maintained by the University of New Hampshire's Hospitality Management Department.

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