by Michael J. Shapiro | January 27, 2010

Lodging Econometrics has revised its 2010 forecast to predict the opening of just 717 hotels, with 82,620 rooms in total. The figure represents a 56 percent decline from the number of new openings in 2009 and is significantly lower than the company's earlier forecasts. The near disappearance of lending from local community banks is a major factor in the dip, analysts said. The number of projects under construction in the fourth quarter of 2009 -- 767, with 95,900 rooms -- is the lowest in more than four years. Project postponements and cancellations, meanwhile, are at "historical highs," LE reported. In a sense, this is good news for the industry, analysts noted, as the supply of new rooms will be much smaller than anticipated, allowing rates to recover more quickly.