Displaced conventions plus emergency-related travel after Hurricane Katrina should bolster the U.S. lodging market over the next few months. As a result, Hendersonville, TN-based Smith Travel Research has increased its 2005 RevPAR (revenue per available room) growth projection from 7.6% up to 8.2%.

"Despite the obvious attrition from displaced business, the increase in Katrina related emergency travel combined with the relocated meetings demand to other cities will have a meaningful impact on occupancies," says Randy Smith, CEO and founder of Smith Travel.

Smith Travel has revised the following projections for year-end 2005:

*Room supply.....................+0.4%
*Room demand...................+3.6%
*Occupancy........................+3.1%
*ADR (Average Daily Rate)...+5.0%
*RevPAR............................+8.2%

Adds Mark Lommano, president of Smith Travel: "Some of our client hotels, despite being closed to the public, house FEMA workers, evacuees and clean-up crews and keep reporting revenues and occupancies to us. We conservatively estimate occupancies in hotels that were not closed due to this disaster to be substantially above average for the rest of the year. Nationally, the decrease in room supply due to Katrina's impact coupled with already strong overall hotel demand allows us to revise our 2005 year-end estimates upward."