by Michael J. Shapiro | May 04, 2011

 The U.S. hotel industry may be poised to see meaningful rate gains this summer, according to Smith Travel Research, as well as a modest increase in demand. The company is forecasting a slight occupancy increase of 1.7 percent over last year's business for the months of June, July and August, along with an average daily rate jump of 4.1 percent and a revenue per available room increase of 5.9 percent. Demand for the summer months is expected to rise 2.5 percent over last year, furthering the demand recovery that began with last year's 8.6 percent jump. Rising gas and airline prices could mute occupancy and rate gains, STR advised. The forecast is fueled by positive first-quarter gains reported last week by STR, including year-over-year increases in occupancy (5.7 percent), average daily rate (3.1 percent) and RevPAR (9.0 percent).