Economic Policy Uncertainty and Hotel Occupancy: The Mediating Effect of Consumer Sentiment

Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Insights

First page number:


Last page number:



Purpose - The purpose of this paper is twofold. First, the study examines the prolonged effect of policy-related economic uncertainty on hotel operating performance, particularly the room demand (occupancy). Second, the study attempts to explain why occupancy drops when the perceived economic uncertainty is high by studying the mediating effect of consumer sentiment in the relationship between economic policy uncertainty and hotel demand. Design/methodology/approach - This quantitative study uses secondary data - US economic policy uncertainty (EPU) index, University of Michigan's index of consumer sentiment (ICS), and property-level hotel operating data from three states of the US - California, Florida and New York. Data were analyzed using random effect regression and structural equation modeling. Robustness tests were conducted to enhance the reliability of the research findings. Findings - Random-effects regression analysis reveals that policy-related economic uncertainty has a negative and lead-lag effect on hotel occupancy, average daily rate and revenue per available room (RevPAR). Structural equation modeling results show that the relationship between economic policy uncertainty and hotel occupancy is significantly mediated by consumer sentiment. Robustness test results support the findings from the main analysis. Practical implications - This study offers valuable implications for the hotel professionals in regard to anticipating the economic impact of policy-related uncertainty on hotel industry and understanding how consumer sentiment affects demand at such crises times. Moreover, the study suggests potential course of actions to deal with declining room demand at times of uncertainty. Originality/value - This empirical study explores how economic policy uncertainty affects hotel performance at the property level and explains the mediating effect of consumer sentiment on hotel room demand. The study provides a first-hand evidence of how consumer sentiment relates to the perception of economic uncertainty and leads to decline in consumer demand. In that regard, findings of the study have valuable implications for hospitality industry practitioners and relevant policymakers.


Economic policy uncertainty; Consumer sentiment; Hotel performance; Occupancy


Business | Hospitality Administration and Management | Tourism and Travel



UNLV article access

Search your library