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HARRISBURG, PA-As a result of its focus on stronger CBDs and primary suburban office parks along with large recent acquisitions, locally based Hersha Hospitality Trust saw significant increases in revenue per available room and average daily rate during the opening quarter of this year. Occupancy also inched ahead.

RevPAR in the company’s full portfolio, including recent acquisitions, rose 21.2% to $48.80. On a “same hotel” basis, which is limited only to those properties owned during both fourth-quarter 2003 and first-quarter 2004, RevPAR increased 6.1% to $42.74. The “same hotel” data is based on occupancy of 53.3% and ADR of $80.23. First-quarter 2004 ADR for the full portfolio was up 17.7% to $87.62, and occupancy rose 1.6% to 55.7%.

The company excludes its four Atlanta properties from the same hotel analysis because that region is not part of the company’s core strategy for the future. Furthermore, those properties were particularly hard hit by the economic downturn. The current strategy calls for focusing in the Northeast and mid-Atlantic markets.

“The increase in occupancy was particularly encouraging,” says Jay H. Shah, president and COO, “considering the addition of seven new properties, all in ramp-up stages, including two hotels opened in the fourth quarter of 2003 and first quarter of 2004.” All of those properties are newly constructed or recently renovated hotels flying Hilton, Marriott or Starwood flags in New York City, Boston, and Connecticut.

“We consistently pushed rates across the portfolio this quarter, positioning us optimally for the recovery,” Shah says. “We continue to aggressively seek acquisitions, but also remain highly selective,” he adds, describing the targets as “high-quality, mid-priced hotels clustered in high barriers-to-entry metro markets in the Northeast.”

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