The days of empty hotel rooms are coming to an end in areas with Marcellus Shale drilling. In fact, when looking for lodging in those areas you might find numerous establishments filled to capacity. Call it a healthy side effect of the natural gas boom.
Drillers throughout the Marcellus Shale formation are staying in hotels and motels for long periods of time. So far, this has generated consistent and successful business for the lodging industry.
An analysis of hotel occupancy rates in northeast Pennsylvania conducted by PKF Consulting and published on Hotel Online, proves the impact Marcellus Shale gas drilling is having in the Pennsylvania counties of Bradford, Lycoming, Susquehanna, and Tioga. PKF reports that revenue per available room (RevPAR) in those counties has grown at an annual rate of 14.8 percent from 2007 to 2011. Despite the lackluster economy, the average daily room rate (ADR) in that region has grown 7.8 percent annually during the same period. The national numbers were not so great. The overall U.S. lodging industry faced a 1.7 percent decline in RevPAR and 0.7 percent ADR.
“Hoteliers should be aware of the new shale explorations that are occurring all across the nation. Shale drilling has the potential to not only stimulate new lodging markets, like we’ve seen in Pennsylvania, but supplement existing markets as well,” said Tony Biddle, senior consultant in the Philadelphia office of PKF Consulting USA, in a statement on Hotel Online.
Could this happen in Western Pennsylvania? With the proposed development of a petrochemical plant in Beaver County, chances are that it could. It could also create new jobs in the hospitality industry. Estimates from the American Chemical Council have projected that if the plant is built, more than 17,000 jobs would be created in the chemical industry, through the plant, and through spinoff businesses along the supply chain. Hotels are part of the supply chain. The Department of Labor and Industry has been working on its own analysis of workforce needs related to the potential new plant, but final numbers are not yet available.