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GREATER BOSTON-In an unusual move, the Massachusetts Lodging Association met for a second time this year to revise its hotel occupancy and room rates to take into account the recent terror attacks. The group normally meets annually in July.

“We do this in July to help hotels create budgets for next year,” Art Canter, executive director of the Massachusetts Lodging Association, tells GlobeSt.com. “But after September 11, we saw we needed to revise those numbers.” The numbers, notes Canter are significantly less than last year.

For instance, according to data provided by innacle Advisory Group, last year’s occupancy rates for suburban Boston–which goes out to Route 495–was 75% with average room rates of $110. The group projects that occupancy rates for 2001 will be 62% with average room rates of $109. “In the first quarter of this year occupancy was up,” points out Canter, “but by the second quarter we were already dealing with the economic slowdown.” At the July meeting, the group predicted that the area would end the year with occupancy rates at 72%.

The year 2002 doesn’t look much better, according to Canter. In 2002, the forecast is that occupancy rates for the area will go up to 64% with average room rates coming down another 2% to $107.30.

Hotels in the Boston /Cambridge area are going to deal with similar drops. Last year, occupancy rates were at 78.5% and room rates averaged out to $202. Occupancy rates for 2001 will end up at 69% and average room rates will go down 7% to $186.49, which is a “major drop” says Canter. In July, the group had predicted that the area would end the year with 74 to 75% occupancy rates.

The next year, 2002, will essentially remain flat, with occupancy rates going up in the Boston/Cambridge area 1% to 70% and room rates creeping up to an average of $189. Canter predicts that the turnaround will happen around the third quarter of 2002. “The winter is not going to be good,” he says.

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