"We expect 2007 to be a terrific year," says Patrick Ford,president of Lodging Econometrics, an authority on hotel realestate. "We should see record breaking profits in '06,record-breaking profits in '07 and a very strong '08."

Fueling the industry's growth is strong economic indicators thatshould drive up business and tourist travel to bring in recordprofits for hotel owners, according to both Ford and Bjorn Hanson,a hospitality consultant with PricewaterhouseCoopers in NewYork.

Although overall occupancy rates are expected to increase byjust one-tenth of a percentage point to 64.3% in 2007, room ratesshould rise 5.7% to $102.69, creating more profitability in theindustry, a recent PricewaterhouseCoopers study shows.

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