The U.S. hotel industry saw revenue per available room (RevPAR) drop nearly 20% in the second quarter of 2009 as rates and occupancy continued to fall, according to the latest numbers from Smith Travel Research.

Occupancy fell from 64.9% to 57.8%, average daily rate dropped 9.7% to $97.37, and RevPAR decreased 19.5% to $56.25.

For the first half of the year, RevPAR fell 18.7% to $53.87, occupancy dropped from 61.3% to 54.6%, and average daily rate fell 8.7% to $98.66.

"The first half of 2009 was, without question, one of the most challenging the U.S. lodging industry has experienced," said Bobby Bowers, STR's senior vice president of operations. "RevPAR fell nearly 19 percent -- by far the largest first-half decline ever recorded by Smith Travel Research.

"While there is some evidence that industry performance has bottomed, hotel operators will continue to face harsh operating conditions -- particularly from a pricing perspective -- in the second half. STR is currently forecasting a total industry RevPAR decline of about 17% for full-year 2009."

In the first half of 2009, none of the top 25 U.S. markets reported increases in any of the three key measurements. Washington, D.C., experienced the smallest decreases in all three metrics among the markets -- occupancy fell from 69.1% to 66.8%, average daily rate decreased 2.2% to $154.34, and RevPAR dropped 6% to $103.16.

Detroit reported the steepest occupancy decrease, 56.2% to 46.7% (a 16.9% drop), followed by Phoenix, 67.2% to 57% (a 15.2% decline).

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