It's been an ugly year for hotels. In the second quarter, revenue per available room, the industry benchmark of measuring performance, fell 19.5% from a year ago, says Smith Travel Research.

The decline will continue for much of 2010, analysts say. Room rates will fall 1% to 6% in North American hotels, and upscale properties will offer deeper price cuts, American Express says.

Mark Woodworth of PKF Consulting expects year-over-year declines to continue until the fourth quarter of 2010. But they will be "much less pronounced" next year, he predicts.

Adding to the problem is a bountiful supply of rooms. The industry is still absorbing rooms that it broke ground on just as signs of a travel downturn started to emerge in early 2008.

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