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Hotel Occupancy Continues to Climb; Room Rates Stagnate

September 01, 1996|MARLA DICKERSON | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Travelers continued to pour into Orange County in July, once again pushing up monthly occupancy rates at local hotels.

They filled, on average, 83.8% of the county's hotel rooms in July, up from 81.5% in the same month a year ago, according to a survey by PKF Consulting of Los Angeles. In Anaheim, the county's largest hotel market, occupancy edged up slightly to 87.8% from 86.2% in July 1995.

"We continue to see steady, ongoing improvement in occupancy," said PKF researcher Melissa Mills. "It's not a dramatic improvement over last year, but it's still been a great summer."

The only bad news for Orange County innkeepers is that room rates continue to stagnate. The average countywide price of a hotel room was $80.56 in July, up only 1.6% from a year ago.

Competition remains particularly keen in Anaheim, where innkeepers are battling for budget-conscious tour groups and summer vacationers. The average cost of a room in Anaheim in July was $83.41, up a mere 15 cents from the same month a year ago.

"It's a trade-off," said Mark Dillinger, general manager of the Holiday Inn Main Gate in Anaheim. "We see higher occupancy in the summer, but all the low-end tour business drives the average rate down."

Business travelers continue to keep hotels hopping near John Wayne Airport. Occupancy at North Orange County hotels averaged 80.9% in July, up from 75.7% in July 1995. Rates climbed briskly as well to $58.11, up 7.3% from the same month a year ago.

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