Profits in the hotels industry in the United States will realize a 14.3-percent increase this year over last year, according to a forecast released Tuesday by the hotel advisory firm, PKF Consulting. The increased profitability is based on a projected revenue increase of 7.6 percent this year over 2003, forecasted by PKF this spring.

Although this improvement marks the first glimpse of hope in what has been a dismal few years for the hotel industry, industry profits still are off 36.2 percent since the flush times of 2000. PKF's annual Trends in the Hotel Industry, reported that, in 2003, hotel profits dropped for the third consecutive year--a 12.4-percent decline. The 2003 decline "marks the first three-year decline in hotel profitability since the early 1960s,' said R. Mark Woodworth, executive managing director of PKF's Hospitality Research Group.

According to Smith Travel Research, hotel occupancies increased 6.6 percent this past quarter from last quarter in the top 25 hotel markets, rising to 63.2 percent. Average daily room rates (ADR) rose only 2.3 percent, but RevPAR (revenue per available room)increased 8.9 percent.

'The hotel industry has definitely turned around,' according to Robert Mandelbaum, research director for the hospitality advisory firm, PKF Consulting, in Atlanta. 'At the moment, we've just passed the bottom of the recovery curve; we're going up.'

With both leisure and corporate activity expected to increase, the spa industry is sure to reap the benefits of the healthier hotel industry.