In PricewaterhouseCoopers' most recent U.S. lodging forecasts, RevPAR (revenue per available room, which is the best indicator of the lodging industry's long-term financial health) was expected to decline by 15 percent in the fourth quarter of 2001. A projected 7.1 percent decline for all of 2001 is the lowest since this type of data was first collected 34 years ago.

Not all hotel segments are suffering equally: The priciest large urban hotels are being hit the hardest, followed by big urban convention hotels. In its year-end lodging industry report, PwC forecast a 2001 hotel occupancy rate of 60.3 percent and a 2002 rate of 59.6 percent, the lowest since 1971.