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by Michael J. Shapiro | March 19, 2012

The U.S. lodging industry is in the midst of an unprecedented six-year span of occupancy growth, according to the March edition of the PKF Hospitality Research newsletter, Hotel Horizons. "Ever since the first quarter of 2010, growth in lodging demand has greatly exceeded the supply increase," noted PKF-HR president R. Mark Woodworth in a press release. "We have seen six straight quarters of [average daily rate] growth and are confident forecasting a sustained period of attractive industry profit growth." Projected numbers for this year include a 5.8 percent rise in revenue per available room, 1.6 percent occupancy growth and an increase of 4.1 percent to the average daily rate. The report predicts that new hotel supply growth will be less than 2 percent annually through 2016, below the average growth rate from 1988 through 2011. The restricted supply growth should lead to occupancy gains through 2015, according to the report, which also forecasts an annual average daily rate hike exceeding 4 percent through 2014. The forecast assumes no disruption to the supply of oil from the Middle East, the report notes; possible military hostilities with Iran could drive up the price of oil, which could significantly affect travel. In the near-term future, though, the outlook is very bright. "U.S. hoteliers have never enjoyed such an extended period of favorable market conditions," said Woodworth. "This is truly unprecedented and will likely result in accelerated, and significantly greater, levels of capital investment into the domestic lodging industry."