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STR Reports Luxury Hotels Spa Performance for 2009

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According to data released by STR, the Average Treatment Rate (ATR) for luxury hotel spas in the U.S. in 2009 was reported at US$135.39, a 4.5% decline compared with full-year 2008. For full-year 2009, Average Treatment Room Utilization (ATRU) increased 3.5% to 31.1%.

The results were helped by a relatively strong fourth quarter, benefitting from the positive comparison against the fourth quarter of 2008, which was the beginning of the global recession.

The trend of luxury hotel spas "buying" utilization or occupancy by sacrificing rate and revenue is mirroring the performance of the U.S. luxury hotel industry. For that segment, Average Daily Rate (ADR) declined 16.3% in 2009 to US$243. For the same period, demand declined 0.6%, but the unprecedented influx of almost 8,000 new rooms, or 8.9% of existing supply, caused occupancy to fall 8.7%.

"The positive growth in the treatment room utilization (+3.5%) is more robust than the decrease in guestroom occupancy (-8.7%), which seems to be an indicator of the spa's ability to capture hotel guests as well as attract a local audience to the spa," said Jan Freitag, STR's vice president of global development.

For salons in luxury hotel spas, Average Salon Rate (ASR) and Average Station Utilization (ASU) declined for the year. Again, the relatively strong fourth quarter comparables eased the poor performance through September. For 2009, ASR declined 3.6% to US$59, and ASU dropped 9.3% to 19.5%.

"When comparing luxury hotel spas' 2009 ATR (US$135.40) and the ASR (US$59) to the luxury hotel industry's ADR (US$243), it might bring up the question as to whether the spa segment will receive increasing attention from general managers going forward," Freitag said. "After all, a hotel room can only be sold once per night, while a spa treatment room can be sold multiple times a day."

STR expects the U.S. lodging industry to show signs of stabilization during 2010, starting at the upper end of the chain-scale spectrum.

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