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July Prices Rose at Downtown L.A. Hotels

September 12, 2000|Stephen Gregory

Downtown Los Angeles hotel operators pushed the average price per room up nearly 15% in July compared with a year ago to increase the amount of revenue they make from occupied rooms, hospitality industry observers said. Although occupancy at downtown hotels dropped to 64% in July from 73% the previous year, the average price per room increased to $114.94 from $100.31, according to PKF Consulting, which tracks the hotel industry. Michael Collins, executive vice president of the Los Angeles Convention & Visitors Bureau, said hotel operators appeared willing to sacrifice some business from leisure and discretionary travelers to increase prices to levels more readily paid by corporate and convention travelers. "It looks like a calculated decision to drive up rates and seek out higher return from their rooms," he said. Collins believes that the drop in occupancy largely was due to a decrease in leisure travelers but that the number of business visitors rose. He said events at the L.A. Convention Center in July generated 273% more overnight stays at downtown hotels over the previous year (27,977 compared with 7,500). Meanwhile, Los Angeles County as a whole saw occupancy rates hit about 80% in July--a tenth of a percent higher than last year. At the same time, average room prices rose 7% to $118.44.

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