After a year where it rained roughly 50 percent of the days, the year-end Smith Travel Research report (STR) showed that it didn’t dampen the lodging industry in Adams County. For the third year in a row, demand for hotel/motel overnights was up 3.6 percent in 2018. This increase follows a record year in 2017 when demand was up 5.4 percent. The Bed & Breakfast industry saw a demand increase of 7.8 percent, the first-time demand increased in this segment in the last three.
Revenue was also up according to the STR report. The increase of 2.2 percent over 2018 follows on the heels of a 6.1 percent increase in 2017. The largest growth month for revenue was in the first quarter, showing 8.2 percent increase in January and 14.2 percent in March. Demand also showed the largest growth in those two months up 9.8-percent in January and 14.9 percent in March. The same trend was seen in the Bed & Breakfast segment for both demand and revenue. Overall revenue in this segment was up less than 1 percent.
“While 2018 was definitely impacted by weather, the Gettysburg Hotel saw an increase of 4 percent in RevPar growth over 2017,” said Andrea Proulx, Director of Sales and Marketing. “With a diverse clientele of business, wedding, leisure and groups, we have maintained a strong base and look to a solid 2019.” RevPar is revenue per available room.
It should be noted that overall supply of rooms was up in 2018 compared 2017 with the addition of the Best Western opening in May of 2017 and the Holiday Inn Express opening in August of 2017. This coupled with an increase of Airbnb offerings did show a slight decrease in occupancy of 1 percent. Occupancy levels in the Bed & Breakfast segment did see an increase in 2018 over 2017 by 7.8 percent while their supply did not change.
While the rain did hamper business for those in the industry who are outdoor dependent, many businesses saw an increase.
In town, historic house tours like the Shriver House saw an increase of 8 percent over previous years. “We can attribute some of our increase to walk-in business. We were able to do more marketing in 2018, specifically social media, and that coupled with referrals and TripAdvisor reviews drove people to our guided tours,” said Del Gudmestad who along with wife Nancie owns The Shriver House Museum.
As Destination Gettysburg continues to hone the tourism marketing strategy and messaging, the impact on the overall destination of expanding messaging can already be seen. With an expanded visitor experience throughout the county encompassing our history, agriculture, culinary and outdoor opportunities, the traditional visitors are embracing these experiences while generating a new visitor base to help sustain our industry.
Looking to the 2019 travel season, reports by STR and Tourism Economic forecast a continued growth in demand for the industry. With no new rooms slated to open in Adams County and several large conventions secured, the market should show strength again in 2019.
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