The leisure and hospitality industry is still in growth mode—analyst firm Tourism Economics reported that travel intentions remain high in the U.S. with expected travel budgets increasing 13% from around the same time last year.
The city of Anaheim is seeing that interest pay off.
According to Newmark’s hotel market insights report, Anaheim rose in ranks from No. 22 to No. 4 among the country’s best-performing tourism markets, determined by the city’s lodging performance indexes.
The city’s improved performance in room rates and occupancy in the 2023 first quarter helped the city move up 18 places, only trailing Oahu Island in Hawaii, Phoenix and San Diego.
Orange County’s three largest hotels by room count are all in Anaheim—the 1,574-room Hilton Anaheim reported starting weekday and weekend rates at $209 and $189, respectively.
The Anaheim Marriott also has rates starting around $189 with 1,030 rooms. Disneyland Hotel counts 973 keys starting at a much higher rate of $572 for a weekday stay as of June.
The latter property will add a 344-suite tower this September and is set to become the second-largest hotel in the county by room count.
The city of Anaheim has surpassed its pre-pandemic hospitality metrics on all fronts, with transient occupancy tax (TOT) revenue expected to reach a new all-time high of $184.4 million this year.
Anaheim’s visitor spending for 2022 was over $6 billion, up 12% compared to 2019, with 24.9 million visitors for the year.
Anaheim has $13 billion worth of theme park, hotel and other commercial development lined up for the next five years or so.
City representative Mike Lyster pointed to upcoming projects like OCVibe and land use proposals such as DisneylandForward as large-scale ventures that haven’t occurred since the 1990s.
“There’s a new generation of big Anaheim projects, like those that made our city several decades ago,” Lyster told the Business Journal.
He added that Anaheim is essentially made up of three visitor centers—the theme parks and convention center, sports venues like Angel Stadium and Honda Center, and downtown with hot spots like the Anaheim Packing House and the newly opened Villains Brewing Company.
Any future hotels and hospitality concepts should aim to connect all three areas, according to Lyster.
Anaheim is not the only city rising with the tide.
– Traveler expenditures for Santa Ana were an estimated $349 million in 2022, an increase of nearly 20% over 2021. Visitor spending of $90 million went to the city’s dining spaces.
– Newport Beach had more than $1.2 billion in annual visitor spend generated by 7.3 million annual visitors in 2022.
– Overall hotel occupancy in Costa Mesa has increased above 11%, according to Travel Costa Mesa. The group business segment is up over 22% for 2023 so far.
“We are looking forward to this trend continuing throughout the year,” the organization’s Chief Executive Paulette Lombardi-Fries told the Business Journal.
– Visit Huntington Beach reported that $17 million in tax revenue came from the city’s tourism industry in 2022.
– Average daily rates in Irvine hotels are up 15% compared to 2019 levels. The city is “expecting occupancy to remain strong” with summer events at venues like the Great Park and the FivePoint Amphitheater in swing, according to Destination Irvine.