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S. Oregon hotels see key numbers rise

The indicator lights are blinking in favor of the region's hoteliers and innkeepers.

The March lodging statistics compiled by Smith Travel Research of Hendersonville, Tenn., showed upticks in every category for Southern Oregon lodging, save for room supply. Better yet, first-quarter 2014 figures were consistently up as well.

Occupancy rose 3.1 percent, pushing the locations surveyed by Smith Travel above 50 percent of capacity for March. Room rates rose 3.6 percent to an average of $74.77, while demand rose 2.3 percent.

"One of the numbers we like to see going up is the room rate," said Carolyn Hill, chief executive officer of Southern Oregon Travel. "We can drive demand from marketing and get the occupancy to go up, but we can't necessarily get the room rates up without the economy helping."

For the first three months of the year, room rates were up 3.7 percent.

"That's encouraging when you multiply all the other factors, so revenues grew by almost 8 percent," Hill said. "We want to make all those numbers go up."

Smith Travel estimates the local industry produced more than $23.3 million in revenues in the first 90 nights of the year, an increase of nearly 8 percent.

"Rates dropped for every kind of business during the recession and it's taken some time for those rates to recover," Hill said. "We're getting closer to those pre-recession levels as occupancy increases with increasing travel in the area."

She said the good start to the year bodes well with vacation season just around the corner. The state has launched its largest-ever travel campaign, centering on the state's natural wonders, which she noted fits one of Southern Oregon's strong points.

"We're riding a nice wave of positive coverage for the region and it's showing up in our hotel numbers," Hill said. "

Statewide, room revenues were up nearly 10 percent and demand up 4.4 percent. The average room rate for the first quarter was $92.57.

Reach reporter Greg Stiles at 541-776-4463 or business@mailtribune.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregMTBusiness, friend him on Facebook and read his blog at www.mailtribune.com/EconomicEdge.