NEW YORK (Associated Press) - The development pipeline for U.S. hotels was 12.8 percent higher last month than it was in September 2007 but is showing signs of a slowdown, according to a report released by a market research firm on Wednesday.
The figures include hotels in the planning and construction stages, but do not include projects in the preplanning stages for which an architect or engineer has not been chosen.
The pipeline totaled 5,926 hotels consisting of 654,590 guestrooms at the end of the month, according to the report by Torto Wheaton Research, Dodge Construction and Smith Travel Research.
Smith Travel Research, or STR, said the figures do not include projects in the preplanning stages for which an architect or engineer has not been chosen.
Higher demand sparked a flurry of hotel development in 2007 and into 2008, said Duane Vinson, STR's vice president of content management, but construction is beginning to slow along with demand in the industry's top markets.
"With room demand softening in the last half of 2008, we are beginning to see higher-than-historical-average attrition in the planning and even final planning phases," Vinson said.
The report showed pipeline declines in major markets of California and Florida, as well as in Las Vegas, Hawaii, Phoenix and others cities.
"While there are still a considerable number of projects pending, it is difficult to accurately gauge how many of them will ever break ground," Vinson said. "A prolonged recession could mean a high number of hotel projects moving into deferral or full abandonment."