San Diego's hotel business is perking up, but the immediate future looks shaky because of the uncertainty about the convention center, says tourism guru Jerry Morrison.
Year-to-date through July, San Diego occupancy is up 4.3 percent, beating San Francisco, Anaheim, and Los Angeles. For years, San Diego hotels had not returned to pre-recession 2007 levels, while those other three California coastal markets were well ahead. Now San Diego is also beating its 2007 metrics.
However, the uncertainty about a convention-center expansion will slow down San Diego, says Morrison.
"We're going to find ourselves behind the eight ball again," he says. "Conventions book two and three years out. People want to know if you can deliver what you say you can deliver. We've had terrible luck when you compare our destination to Los Angeles, Anaheim, and San Francisco. They do most things right and we do things wrong."
Hence, Morrison's outlook for San Diego convention-related hotels is not good, despite the area's current strength.