N.O. hotel operator seeing uptick in business

Expotel Hospitality said Wednesday the remainder of 2013 looks ”much improved” over the same period in 2012 in the company’s hotel portfolio sales and revenue forecasts.

The forecast reflects an improved pace of advance booking patterns for this year’s third and fourth quarters than recent years, said Kerry Ranson, president and COO of the 16-hotel owner and management company based in New Orleans.

“The pace of booking patterns is now 90-120 days ahead, which is certainly nice to see again. What this means for us is around a 13 percent-plus increase in bookings than a year ago in the latter half of the year, which is substantial,” Ranson said.

Ranson attributes the business growth to two factors: increasing regional group business travel, and his company’s improved ability to bundle sales management functions in a single market among several properties.

“So we’re benefitting from two factors, one related to an uptick in the kind of travel our properties are positioned to accommodate; and two, our enhanced ability as we grow our portfolio to cluster sales activities among our different properties in a single market and produce our own demand.”

Equally exciting, Ranson added, “is that rate growth follows sales growth, meaning better margins on room nights. We’re looking forward to that, as well.”