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Executive Summary

This translational research study analyzes university-related lodging demand over a 24-year period through 2013. In so doing, this research project focuses on 27 university towns in an attempt to best isolate the dynamics of lodging supply and demand related to universities. Also, the study compares the supply and demand in university towns to U.S. averages and to similarly-sized cities that are not dominated by a university. This study finds that lodging demand in university towns is more stable than both U.S. averages and to similarly-sized small cities. This study also evaluates factors that hotel developers and analysts should consider when studying proposed lodging development or acquisition in markets dominated by a university. Significant predictors of lodging demand include city employment and population trends, as would be expected. Interestingly, university grant funding and graduate student populations are also strong predictors of lodging demand. Among the primary implications and recommendations of this study are that hotel feasibility analysts should evaluate both grant funding and graduate student population trends when studying individual markets. The results of this study may be useful to lodging feasibility analysts and developers evaluating university-related lodging demand in a variety of markets, not only small towns dominated by a major university.