Hotel Industry Posts Record Profits

The U.S. hotel industry enjoyed its most profitable year ever in 2005 as measured in absolute dollars, $22.6 billion, according to lodging industry tracker Smith Travel Research.

The record profit exceeds the industry's previous best year, 2000, by about $100 million. Revenue last year reached $122.7 billion.

The average daily rate nationwide rose 5.4 percent last year over the year before, to $90.91, and occupancy rose nearly 3 percent, to 63 percent.

'The U.S. hotel industry is firing on all cylinders,' Randy Smith, chief executive of Smith Travel, said last week in announcing the 2005 results.

Smith predicted smooth sailing ahead for the nation's hoteliers.

'After the tragic events of 9/11,' Smith said, 'we can say with confidence that the industry has rebounded, and for the next two years we expect further excellent

Increased demand, primarily from group and transient business travelers, along with an increase in room inventory that falls below historical levels will continue to fuel the industry's boom, according to the company.

Smith Travel predicts the hotel industry will open about 75,000 new guest rooms this year, a 1.2-percent increase in supply as compared with a historical annual average of 2.1 percent. Meanwhile, room demand is expected to increase just over 3 percent this year.