Renaissance Leading Uptick in Room Rates At Hollywood Hotels

By ANDY FIXMER
Staff Reporter

The average price of a Hollywood hotel room in July jumped nearly 18 percent compared to a year earlier, according to PKF Consulting.

But even as Hollywood hotels commanded rates of $120 a night, occupancy during the period fell 5.3 percent from the year before, leaving many with 32 percent of their rooms vacant.

The spike in room rates was partly attributed to cable sports network ESPN's ESPY awards show held in the third week of July at the Kodak Theatre.

Another factor has been a rebound from the steep drop in foreign tourism after Sept. 11, 2001 and the absorption of the Hollywood Renaissance Hotel into the market, according to Bruce Baltin, a PKF senior vice president.

"Rates are up so much just because Hollywood is heavily impacted by international tourists and the opening of the Renaissance hotel," he said. "Both were down last year."

Sam Cole, general manager of the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, agreed, saying that the Renaissance's higher room rates have allowed others to raise their rates.

"The Renaissance is pushing the rate envelope with their customers," he said. "It's causing a lot of us to be able to charge a little bit more than we used to."

Meanwhile, room rates at downtown hotels continued to plunge in July, dropping more than 13 percent to $108 from $125 the year before. Occupancy downtown declined by 1.6 percent, leaving its hotels little more than half full the worst hotel occupancy level in the county.

"The rates downtown have come down pretty far, but I wouldn't be surprised to see this continue," Baltin said. "Downtown is going to have to restructure its marketing because the conventions just aren't there."

The bright spot downtown was the strength of its lower-end hotels. Those with nightly room rates of less than $85 led the county so far this year with a nearly 11 percent increase in occupancy. Those properties were 62.5 percent full at the end of July.

Other strong performers were the traditionally healthy Beverly Hills market, where hotels were 69 percent full in July, and Marina del Rey, which averaged occupancy of 83 percent.

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