Third quarter hotel occupancy reached 69%, up 2.7% from the end of the third quarter 2004. Smith Travel Research also reports that the average room rate increased 5.6% to reach $91.08 during the third quarter. Even more positive: revenue per available room (RevPAR), or the combination of occupancy and average room rate, jumped by 8.3% to $62.83. This is a significant increase since it represents the highest quarterly RevPAR growth since Smith Travel first started tracking data in 1987.

“September year-to-date industry performance was surprisingly good, especially when considering last year’s strong results,” says Mark Lommano, president of Smith Travel Research. “If the industry achieves our forecasted RevPAR growth, it will be the highest full year increase since we began tracking lodging industry data.”

Smith Travel recently revised their full year 2005 industry RevPAR growth forecast upward to 8.2%, based largely on the effects of Hurricane Katrina. The storm further diminished the supply of hotel rooms.