Brands among the upper upscale tier enjoyed hearty returns in 2005, allowing them to reinvest much of their earnings back into their properties for facility upgrades while steadfastly adhering to the refrain that excellent service is what keeps guests coming back.

Loews Hotels retained its hold atop the upper upscale category in the U.S. Hotel Chain Survey, staving off JW Marriott in second and Starwood's W Hotels and Westin brands, which tied for third.

The momentum gained in the hotel industry in 2004 that spilled into 2005 was in no small way predicated on the performance of the upper upscale tier. According to Smith Travel Research, the upper upscale occupancy rate checked in at 70.8 percent for 2005, highest among all the tiers. This, combined with an average daily rate of $140—a 6.7 percent increase over 2004—led to a 9.4 percent increase in revenue per available room.

Related Link: Top U.S. Hotel Chain Survey (PDF 75KB)