Boom times for hoteliers pretty much ended a year ago. But the industry went into a real dive this past fall with occupancy rates dropping 6.5% in October and another 10% to 12% in November, estimates Smith Travel Research.

"It's like someone has taken the punch bowl away," says Peter Yesawich, CEO of Y Partnership, and a travel industry consultant.

Hotels are struggling to attract patrons with everything from free breakfast to quirky promotions like an adults-only couples weekend at a resort in Bermuda, complete with counseling by sex therapists. There are more upgrades, more freebies - and more top hotels quietly offering their rooms at lower rates on Priceline.com.

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