Last updated: 03:30 PM ET, Mon March 14 2016

Why Contested Primaries Bode Well for Hotels

Hotel & Resort | Patrick Clarke | March 14, 2016

Why Contested Primaries Bode Well for Hotels

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The U.S. hotel industry may be the biggest beneficiary of the contentiousness that has so far defined the ongoing primary election season.

According to data from STR, demand for hotel rooms soars in caucus destinations when both the Democratic and Republican parties are in need of a new candidate. 

Hotel News Now recently analyzed the data for the three months ending in January for four states over the past five election cycles dating back to 2000. Researchers looked at stats for Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada with the exception of Las Vegas because of its convention schedule.

While room demand in large parts of Nevada has dipped during competitive races on both sides since 2000, the other three states have seen a steady rise in demand.

READ MORE: How Travel Is Staying Ahead of the Game This Election Season

In 2016, South Carolina led the way with room demand of 4.88 million nights, climbing more than one million nights from 2000. Iowa also experienced an impressive rise from 1.66 million nights in 2000 to 2.13 million nights in 2016.

New Hampshire jumped slightly from 750,000 nights to 830,000 nights, while Nevada (excluding Las Vegas) fell from 1.30 million nights in 2000 to 1.22 million nights in 2016. Nonetheless 1.22 million nights represents a nine percent jump from 2012 when the only competitive race was in the Republican party.

READ MORE: What to See on the Campaign Trail: Ohio and Florida

The rising room demand is reflected in the rise in room revenue spending during competitive election seasons, with all four states recording at least a 16 percent jump in room revenue spending in 2016 compared to 2012.

As a result, hotels in those four states have seen a sizable jump in room demand dollars.

Of the four analyzed states, South Carolina is by far the biggest winner, though, with the Palmetto State's hotels bringing in a whopping $130 million more during the three months ending in January in 2016 compared to 2012.

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