* Gaylord, Lodgian post wider-than-expected loss
* Downturn in economy hits companies
* Corporate, leisure travelers cut spending
* Gaylord cuts ‘08 RevPAR view on fall in holiday bookings
* Gaylord shares down 25 pct; Lodgian falls 9 pct
By Dhanya Skariachan
BANGALORE, Nov 5 (Reuters) - Hotel operators, stung by lower occupancy rates, will likely continue to see fewer bookings and higher cancellations in 2009 as both corporate and leisure travelers tighten their belts amid weakening economic conditions.
Gaylord Entertainment Co GET.N, which reported a wider-than-expected quarterly loss on Wednesday, trimmed its total revenue per available room (RevPAR) growth outlook for 2008 after it recently saw a fall in bookings for the holiday period. [ID:nWNAB8146]
The operator of Gaylord Hotels, ResortQuest and country music mecca Grand Ole Opry expects both 2008 same-store RevPAR and total RevPAR to range between a fall of 1 percent and stay flat, compared with its prior forecast of a rise of 1 to 3 percent.
Total RevPAR in 2009 may fall up to 2 percent.
Smaller rival Lodgian Inc LGN.A, which also reported a wider-than-expected third-quarter loss on Wednesday, said the current turmoil in the U.S. economy was hurting the lodging industry. [ID:nWNAB8156]
The lackluster results come a month after larger industry player Marriott International Inc MAR.N, which runs the Marriott, Courtyard, Ritz-Carlton and Fairfield Inn hotel brands, warned it expects the business environment in 2009 to remain “unusually challenging” on tight credit and soft consumer spending.
Leisure travel trends have weakened at most hoteliers amid the economic slowdown as more people now tend to book their trips at the last minute and some cut the length of their stays.
Gaylord shares fell to a low of $16.38, before recouping some of their losses to trade down $4.94 at $16.99 Wednesday afternoon on the New York Stock Exchange.
The stock is down almost 46 percent this year through Tuesday, underperforming the Dow Jones U.S. Travel & Leisure Index .DJUSCG, which has fallen 35 percent.
Lodgian shares, which have dropped 61 percent through Tuesday, fell 39 cents to a low of $4.01 Wednesday on the American Stock Exchange. (Editing by Pratish Narayanan)