As 2012 comes to a close, VisitPittsburgh is reporting a record-setting year when it comes to hotel room occupancy in the region. The rate is expected to come in at 70 percent, which is higher than it has been since the region’s tourism agency began tracking the number 20 years ago.
“It compares against the national average of 60 percent and the average of our competitor set of about 63 percent,” said VisitPittsburgh President Craig Davis. The competitor set includes cities like Columbus, Baltimore, and Charlotte.
Davis said a strong business climate in the city, robust convention numbers and a growing Marcellus Shale industry all helped to drive the number. Davis said there is no reason to think it will slow in 2013.
“Last year the average bedroom rate… actually ranked number nine in the nation if adjusted for cost of living, so not only are we attracting the rooms in, the rooms are selling for a premium in the city,” said Davis.
Currently there are about 24,000 hotel rooms in the region and Davis said there are a few small projects in the works, however he said the city still needs a new convention center hotel, which is not expected anytime soon.
“These types of projects are built with a public subsidy and that public subsidy is just not available in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania right now,” said Davis.
VisitPittsburgh is predicting another good year with about 250,000 room nights associated with convention traffic alone in 2013. That is about the same as was seen in 2012. The organization is also looking to promote overnight vacations to the region.