X

Thank you for sharing!

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.

ORLANDO-The headlines get your attention but the numbers tell the real story in metro Orlando’s 110,000-room hotel industry at least. Tax collections revenue is down but it isn’t a catastrophe, industry analysts and local government officials say.

“The market is holding up generally well in spite of negative domestic and international economic news,” Robin L. Webb, a hospitality industry consultant for 30 years and vice president/managing broker, Arvida Realty Services Commercial Division, Winter Park, FL, tells GlobeSt.com.

While September collections of the 5% tax on rooms fell 32% for September in Orange County and 22% in neighboring Osceola County, the total collections for fiscal 2001 ended Sept. 30 was $104.8 million.

That’s the second highest revenue total in the 23 years since the tariff began, according to Orange County comptroller Martha Haynie. Last year’s record collections totaled $108.2 million, $3.4 million more than this year. The collections never hit the $100 million mark until last year.

“Going under the $100 mil threshold would have been cause for real alarm,” an International Drive hotelier tells GlobeSt.com on condition of anonymity. “But staying in the $100 mil house means we are surviving with a good chance of recovering lost revenue and lost guests some time in 2002.”

The 32% September drop mirrored the numbers forecast earlier by Haynie. She called for a dip of 30% to 35%. The county still has $140 million in reserves.

Tax collection monies are used largely by the county to fund convention center expansions and promote Central Florida’s $1 billion-plus tourism industry. That’s why elected officials in neighboring Osceola County are concerned over their collection numbers.

Osceola collected a total $23 million for fiscal 2001, down 6.6% from 2000. In September, the last month of the fiscal period, the county garnered $1.23 million, 22% off from last year’s $1.58 million. Osceola has $12 million in reserves.

But Osceola commissioners are wondering if that amount will still leverage construction financing needed for a $71 million agriculture center, a $44 million convention center and $18 million in renovations to Osceola County Stadium where the Houston Astros play their spring training games.

Tourist collections in Orange County this year have been down for seven consecutive months; in Osceola, for nine months.

Average daily room rates are $77.19, down from an average $86.44 at this time last year, according to Smith Travel Research of Hendersonville, TN, an industry tracker. Occupancy is averaging 68%, down from an average 82% last year.

“Clearly, corporate America is tightening its belt,” Arvida’s Webb tells GlobeSt.com. “However, business travel in the Central Florida market is a relatively small percentage of hotel occupancy.”

A growing trend among vacationers, however, is the use of lower-priced hotels.

“The five-star hotel guest is probably staying in a four-star hotel and the four-star guest is probably leaning more to the limited service and extended-stay brands, particularly when he or she is spending personal funds,” Webb says.

Want to continue reading?
Become a Free ALM Digital Reader.

Once you are an ALM digital member, you’ll receive:

  • Unlimited access to GlobeSt and other free ALM publications
  • Access to 15 years of GlobeSt archives
  • Your choice of GlobeSt digital newsletters and over 70 others from popular sister publications
  • 3 free articles* across the ALM subscription network every 30 days
  • Exclusive discounts on ALM events and publications

*May exclude premium content
Already have an account?

Dig Deeper

GlobeSt

Join GlobeSt

Don't miss crucial news and insights you need to make informed commercial real estate decisions. Join GlobeSt.com now!

  • Free unlimited access to GlobeSt.com's trusted and independent team of experts who provide commercial real estate owners, investors, developers, brokers and finance professionals with comprehensive coverage, analysis and best practices necessary to innovate and build business.
  • Exclusive discounts on ALM and GlobeSt events.
  • Access to other award-winning ALM websites including ThinkAdvisor.com and Law.com.

Already have an account? Sign In Now
Join GlobeSt

Copyright © 2020 ALM Media Properties, LLC. All Rights Reserved.