There’s never been a better time to be in the hotel industry. It has been driving economic growth for four consecutive years and is responsible for 1.8 million jobs in communities across the country. Better yet, the hotel industry contributes billions of dollars to local, state and federal coffers. Last year alone, it generated $163 billion in tax revenue.

Hotels are experiencing dynamic developments and opportunities, and continue to break records every year. In 2014 alone, there were more rooms available, more rooms sold and more rooms producing revenue than ever before. Every day, nearly five million people check into a hotel, and the demand for new and niche hotels remains hot. During the course of the year, new brands have been introduced that target different audience segments—a trend that is expected to continue.

The pipeline is full. More than 130,000 hotel rooms are under construction, which is up 21 percent from last year, and nearly 1,000 hotels are being built across the country. Moreover, 10 or more hotels are currently under construction in 30 states nationwide. With all areas of the hotel industry performing at or near peak level, the future outlook remains positive. All experts point to an increase in expansion and growth.

Yet, hotel projects are not only bound to ground-up construction. Trends in lodging expand to restoration, renovation and sustainability efforts. Hotels are focusing on the adaptive reuse of existing facilities, such as restoring outdated or rundown lobbies or preserving antique or unique aspects of a historic hotel. Last year was record-breaking for U.S. hotel renovations, with one of out every five operational properties undergoing upgrades.

Sustainability remains top of mind, too. Hotels are increasing efforts to expand energy-efficient initiatives, with 78 percent of lodging properties using LED energy-efficient lighting. Moreover, 16 percent plan to incorporate LEED structural renovations during the next year, which is up 3 percent from 2012 data. Furthermore, a recent hotel trend survey confirms that 74 percent of hotels offer healthy menu choices for guests, a record high for the industry. 

These undertakings, in addition to consistently trying to revamp the status quo, help hotels gain a competitive edge. Hotels are constantly paying attention to the newest trends and innovative services, introducing new technologies and offering more amenities to attract guests. For example, with 80 percent of mobile travel bookings used to reserve hotel rooms, hotels are inclined to offer mobile services, from smartphone reservation apps and kiosk check-ins to touchscreen controls, keyless entries and more.   

And though hotels are working to become more tech-savvy by the day, elaborate facilities and features are not so common anymore. Today, developers are focusing more on select-service hotels. These types of properties—conventionally known to offer basic amenities that exclude ballrooms, full-service restaurants and convention or banquet halls—are the leading design among the latest hotel construction projects. They offer basic amenities, and often will still include a fitness center, pool, mini convenience store or business room.

In today’s ever-changing economy, industries must morph with the times and continue to come up with new standards, conveniences and innovative technologies. In many cases, that translates into constructing new buildings in up-and-coming areas, reviving a worn-down property to mirror its glory days, or creating an entirely new brand or structure that helps drive business, jobs and economic prosperity. 

As long as tourism and travel continues to boom, the construction and revitalization of hotels will flourish. 


Matthew MacLaren is senior vice president of member relations for the American Hotel & Lodging Association, Washington, D.C. For more information, email mmaclaren@ahla.com or visit ahla.com.