Last week STR revealed that July’s performance obliterated the past monthly record by 5 million room nights. Against that backdrop, several hotel executives spent Wednesday morning at the Southern Lodging Summit @ Memphis trying to figure out how the industry can better capitalize on such strong demand. “The reality is there’s still a gun-shy approach to raising rates,” said Bill DeForrest, president of Chicago-based Spire Hospitality. “(Operators) do tend to look at the markets and think our customers are much more aware of our pricing transparency. We’ve got product they’re willing to pay for if we give them the right experience. To move four-and-a-half percent in a low inflation market is nice, but I think we can do better.” STR, the parent company of Hotel News Now, reported average daily rates and demand increased 4.8% and 4.7%, respectively, during the month. Year-over-year revenue per available room jumped 8.8%. Moderator Isaac Collazo, VP of performance strategy & planning for InterContinental Hotels Group, called this “the best demand environment ever.” Get the full story at Hotel News Now