Hotels and resorts, already struggling to keep rooms filled as recession-wary consumers and companies cut spending, are now in a political battle to keep bailed-out banks and others from canceling business meetings.

For anything remotely touching the travel industry it's definitely a challenging time," said Warren Miller, a Morningstar equity analyst who covers travel and leisure companies. "I don't see a very quick turnaround in demand," he said. "In the next couple of quarters, I think things can and will get worse."

Of the three publicly traded online travel agencies -- Expedia Inc, Priceline.com and Orbitz Worldwide -- only Priceline saw growth in bookings in the fourth quarter. These companies are increasingly focused on generating travel demand through marketing and vacation packages that can cut the total price of a trip.

"We are currently assuming that the economy and the travel market will be challenging for all of 2009, with no indications pointing to significant improvement," Michael Adler, Expedia's Chief Financial Officer, said on a Feb. 19 Webcast.

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