U.S hotels should experience some much-needed demand this summer, reports PricewaterhouseCoopers. The company predict that weekend lodging occupancy in the U.S is will hit 69.1% between Memorial Day and Labor Day. If PricewaterhouseCoopers is right, the summer of 2004 will be a high-water mark for occupancy in the past four years. Last summer, occupancy reached 67.7%, while in the summer of 2000 it hit 72.1%.

"The summer occupancy levels are great news for the industry, as occupancy will recover to 2000 levels when the industry had one of its strongest years ever," says Bjorn Hanson, global industry leader at PricewaterhouseCoopers’ hospitality and leisure practice.

"Although gasoline prices are at a record high, and expected to increase further before the commencement of the unofficial summer travel season that begins Memorial weekend, we estimate that lodging occupancy will be suppressed by only about one quarter to one half of an occupancy point," adds Hanson.

Memorial Day weekend occupancy is projected to achieve a 72% occupancy rate, the highest since 2000 when occupancy reached 73.4%, reports Smith Travel Research. Meanwhile, Fourth of July occupancy should be similar to 2002, but above 2003 at 67%. And Labor Day occupancy will be similar to 2001 and 2003 at 69%.