Room rates in major U.S. hotel markets last year increased an average of 7.5%, to $105 per night, according to PKF Consulting, an international firm of consultants and specialists in the hotel and tourism industries.

The main reason for the rise, experts say, is that supply and demand are out of sync. The pace of U.S. hotel openings, slowed by financial forces, bottomed out in 2004 and only recently began to pick up, said Patrick Ford, president of Lodging Econometrics, a research and consulting firm in Portsmouth, N.H., that tracks lodging construction trends.

For many reasons, including a surge in midpriced hotel openings, the increase in room rates will probably slow in 2006, said Robert Mandelbaum, Atlanta-based director of research information services for PKF.

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