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by Michael J. Shapiro | February 16, 2011

 The U.S. hotel industry should see better days ahead, according to projections released last week by Smith Travel Research. In 2011, the company predicts increases of 1.8 percent in occupancy and 4.2 percent in average daily rate, contributing to a jump of 6.1 percent in revenue per available room. Demand should outplace supply, they say, with increases of 2.5 percent and 0.7 percent, respectively. "While it may be the second half of 2011 before we begin to see rapidly accelerating room rates," noted STR CEO Mark Lomanno, "by the time we get to 2012, we now expect room-rate growth to rival the boom years of 2006 and 2007." The forecast for 2012 is rosy from the hotel perspective, indeed: The company is calling for a 1.7 percent rise in occupancy, along with an impressive 6.8 percent increase in average daily rate and an accompanying 8.6 percent jump in RevPAR.