Hotel business sees improvements

Southern Oregon hotel and innkeepers have seen modest improvements in room rates and revenue, but haven't experienced the general jolt felt by northern counterparts this year.

"What we are seeing in urban and Central Oregon is partly the return of business travel," said Carolyn Hill, regional tourism marketing chief executive officer. "We never attracted a large business travel segment anyway because we don't have a convention center."

Room rates in the seven counties under Travel Southern Oregon's umbrella edged up 2.5 percent to an average of $76.81 during the first seven months of 2012. Revenue per available room climbed 1.6 percent. Total room revenue for the region is up 1.5 percent, based on data compiled by Smith Travel Research of Hendersonville, Tenn.

Statewide numbers in these categories were superior. The statewide room rates grew 4 percent, revenue per available room rose 5.1 percent and total revenue soared 5.7 percent. Actual dollar figures are compiled when the state's 1 percent lodging tax is distributed to regional marketing groups.

"We would love to see the August numbers come in strong," Hill said. "We're not hearing about record-breaking years, but we're hearing August has been a strong month and the weather has been absolutely perfect. We've been lucky in that fires haven't affected travel in our area, which is always a risk in the late summer."

— Greg Stiles

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