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CCUs Brittain Center releases 2005 tourism study summary

January 20, 2006

Note: The following is the year-end report of the Tourism Economy Study produced by Coastal Carolina Univeristys Clay Brittain Jr. Center for Resort Tourism. For more information, contact Taylor Damonte, director of the center, at 349-2698 or

The Tourism Economy Study: CCU Lodging Update, End of Year Recap, 2005 As 2005 comes to a close, the 52-week moving average weekly occupancy rate in the Clay Brittain Jr. Center for Resort Tourisms voluntary sample of hotels and condotels stands at 55.5%, up more than 0.2 occupancy points, or approximately 0.4%, compared to the average occupancy rate during 2004. However, an increase of over 6% in Average Daily Rate (ADR) has led to an increase in Revenue Per Available Room (RevPAR) of approximately 6.4% over the average RevPAR of 2004. The Brittain Center also conducts a random sampling of approximately 6% of the vacation rental home properties located between Garden City and Little River, S.C., which are listed on the Internet each week as available to rent. During 2005, approximately 62.7 of these units were reserved.

At the end of 2005, the six-week moving average weekly occupancy rate (Nov. 20 Dec. 31) in the Brittain Centers sample is 29.39%, up approximately 0.6 occupancy points, or about 2.0% compared to the same period in 2004. Increases in price during that period led to an increase in RevPAR of approximately 8.7% over RevPAR during the same period last year.

Over three years ago the Brittain Center conducted an inventory of the lodging products available for overnight rental in Horry County, including hotels, condominiums, timeshares, campgrounds and vacation rental homes. The multi-method research approach included a census of hotels, campsites and timeshares, and a random sample of all other owners of property zoned for overnight rentals in the area. In this way, researchers estimated that there were more than 72,000 lodging sites (bedrooms or campsites) available in the area at that time. Since then, the Brittain Center has tracked Revenue Per Available Room (RevPAR) from a voluntary sample of hotels and condotels in the Myrtle Beach area on a weekly/yearly basis. Over the same period, the Brittain Center has monitored the annual change in the South Carolina 2% Accommodations Tax collections in Horry County, which are based on the total lodging revenue from all properties renting overnight accommodations. Between 2003 and 2004 accommodations taxes increased 15.7% more than did RevPAR. Between 2004 and 2005 accommodations taxes increased 6.7% more than did RevPAR. One possible explanation of this is that lodging inventory has increased. If the entire difference between the rate of growth in sample revenue and the rate of growth in total accommodations taxes is due to an increase in supply, then lodging inventory available may have increased by 15.7% in 2004 and 6.7% in 2005, leading to a total inventory of over 89,000 units (including bedrooms and campsites) available for nightly rental in Horry County. Readers are reminded that the original estimate, and therefore the current one, may only be accurate to within 10%, or about 9,000 units. This is due to the sampling error inherent in the research design. In addition, the actual number may be greater or less than the estimate at any time due to the fact that many renters take their properties off market during some seasons of the year, reducing the available inventory. Also, many renters may under-report revenues or simply rent on a hand-shake basis during other times of the year, leading researchers to underestimate total availability.

Data collected and analysis created by:

The Clay Brittain Jr. Center for Resort Tourism, Coastal Carolina University

Taylor Damonte, Director; Shelia Lercara, Research Assistant; David Ennis, Web Manager

In cooperation with:

The Coastal Federal Center for Economic and Community Development, CCU Gary Loftus, Director

Note: The above analysis is based on sample estimates. Actual business performance results may vary greatly. Therefore, neither the above Centers nor Coastal Carolina University warrant the use of the above data or analysis for specific business