Last updated: 02:11 PM ET, Fri January 29 2016

Caribbean Hotels Had a Record-Breaking 2015

Hotel & Resort | Brian Major | January 29, 2016

Caribbean Hotels Had a Record-Breaking 2015

PHOTO: Caribbean hotels posted record rates and revenue in 2015, says STR. At the Paradisus Palma Real resort in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. (Photo by Brian Major).

Travelers might want to start booking their resort vacations early this year. Hospitality research firm STR is reporting Caribbean hotels and resorts posted record-breaking average daily rate (ADR) and revenue per available room (RevPar) in 2015. The tighter higher rate and revenue numbers reflected in STR’s report will likely impact 2016 Caribbean resort rates, say travel professionals. 

In a report issued at this last week’s Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association Caribbean Marketplace conference, STR reported 2015 average daily rate (ADR) for reporting Caribbean hotels and resorts totaled $228, a 4.7 percent increase over 2014. Revenue per available room (RevPar) for 2015 was $158, a 7.4 percent increase over 2014.

Both the ADR and RevPar figures are the highest ever reported by Caribbean hotels to STR over an entire year. STR’s data reflects 50,082 Caribbean hotel rooms, 22 percent of the region’s 230,828 rooms.

Top travel sellers said STR’s data mirrored the marketplace. “We did see higher average daily rates in our inventory,” said Tom Carr, owner of All Inclusive Outlet in Lexington, Ky.  “Hoteliers pushed up the rates with strong demand. I do believe 2015 was a great year for the major destinations in the Caribbean,” Carr said. “Sales are solid in the near term from what I'm seeing.”

The strong rate and revenue figures were spread across 2015. STR officials said year-over-year increases in ADR and RevPAR were reported in 11 months during the year. March 2015 was the year’s top-performing month for ADR (totaling $289.58) and RevPAR ($225.58).

The STR report also found Caribbean hotels posted strong 2015 occupancy, with year-over-year occupancy increasing in nine out of 11 months in 2015. February was the year’s top month for occupancy (with 79.7 percent). Occupancy is expected to reach 70.3 percent in 2016, a 1.4 percent increase over 2015.

Balance sheets at Caribbean hotel and resort balance reflected the rate and occupancy increases. STR reports room revenue through November 2015 totaled $13.2 billion, up 8.8 percent versus 2014 and again the highest figure ever recorded by STR.

The report predicts a mixed picture for ADR and RevPar growth in 2016. ADR will increase by 5.1 percent and RevPar by 6.5 percent in 2016, compared with increases of 4.8 percent and 7.3 percent, respectively, in 2015.

Carr recommends travelers move quickly to lock in rates and choice of accommodations. “If I was looking for a deal, the best bet is book in advance,” he said. “I would target the early winter in the coming weeks as more hoteliers look at the numbers and make moves to meet their advance sales goals.”

STR is forecasting a 1.0 percent increase in hotel supply for 2016 and a 2.6 percent increase in demand. Both figures are down from 1.5 percent and 4.0 percent in 2015, respectively. “This year is showing soft advance sales year-over-year and I'm getting offers for the fall already from hoteliers,” Carr said.

STR-tracked hoteliers report 49 hotel or resort projects totaling 9,667 rooms in the active pipeline (in construction, final planning or planning stages).

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