U.S. hotels' revenue per available room will increase 6.1% in 2012, as rising room rates for upper-end hotels will more than offset the effect of stagnant occupancy at midscale and economy properties, PKF Hospitality Research said in a report released Tuesday.

Room rates will rise 4.7% next year on a combination of higher demand from business and corporate travelers and virtually no new hotel supply in most markets.

Luxury, upper-upscale and upscale hotels next year will enjoy occupancy rates above 70%, while midscale and economy hotels will have about a 55% occupancy rate in 2012, according to PKF.

“Owners and operators are now focused on more aggressive pricing policies, which in turn will translate into strong growth in hotel profits,” said Mark Woodworth, president of PKF Hospitality Research. “We believe market conditions during the next few years will allow them to achieve these goals.”

PKF is more optimistic about 2012 demand growth than research firm STR, which in November reduced its 2012 forecast for U.S. RevPAR growth to 3.9% from its prior forecast of 7%.

Unlike this year, STR said the 2012 increase will stem almost exclusively from room-rate increases, as occupancy will edge up just 0.2 percentage points.

PKF also said Tuesday that 2011 RevPAR will rise 8.1% from last year.

Through the first nine months of the year, U.S. RevPAR is up 8.3% on a 4.6-point increase in occupancy and a 3.6% rise in average daily rate, according to STR, which forecast RevPAR growth of 7.7% for the year.

Follow Danny King on Twitter @dktravelweekly.


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