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In his essay - Toward a Better Understanding of the Evolution of Hotel Development: A Discussion of Product-Specific Lodging Demand - by John A. Carnella, Consultant, Laventhol & Horwath, cpas, New York, Carnella initially describes his piece by stating: “The diversified hotel product in the united states lodging market has Resulted in latent room-night demand, or supply-driven demand resulting from the introduction of a lodging product which caters to a specific set of hotel patrons. The subject has become significant as the lodging market has moved toward segmentation with regard to guest room offerings. The author proposes that latent demand is a tangible, measurable phenomenon best understood in light of the history of the guest room product from its infancy to its present state.”

The article opens with an ephemeral depiction of hotel development in the United States, both pre’ and post World War II. To put it succinctly, the author wants you to know that the advent of the inter-state highway system changed the complexion of the hotel industry in the U.S.

“Two essential ingredients were necessary for the next phase of hotel development in this country. First was the establishment of the magnificently intricate infrastructure which facilitated motor vehicle transportation in and around the then 48 states of the nation,” says Carnella. “The second event…was the introduction of affordable highway travel.

Carnella goes on to say that the next – big thing – in hotel evolution was the introduction of affordable air travel. “With the airways filled with potential lodging guests, developers moved next to erect a new genre of hotel, the airport hotel,” Carnella advances his picture.

Growth progressed with the arrival of the suburban hotel concept, which wasn’t fueled by developments in transportation, but by changes in people’s living habits, i.e. suburban affiliations as opposed to urban and city population aggregates.

The author explores the distinctions between full-service and limited service lodging operations. “The market of interest with consideration to the extended-stay facility is one dominated by corporate office parks,” Carnella proceeds.

These evolutional states speak to latent demand, and even further to segmentation of the market. “Latent demand… is a product-generated phenomenon in which the number of potential hotel guests increases as the direct result of the introduction of a new lodging facility,” Carnella brings his unique insight to the table with regard to the specialization process. The demand is already there; just waiting to be tapped.

In closing, “…there must be a consideration of the unique attributes of a lodging facility relative to its ability to attract guests to a subject market, just as there must be an examination of the property's ability to draw guests from within the subject market,” Carnella proposes.