Depending on which analysis and what hotel expert you follow as to the state of the hotel industry this year, there are a number of mixed news reports. There also appears to be a slight conflict between the numbers reported and what to expect going forward at least for the remainder of this year. According to two separate reports, the lodging industry is growing or is at least not in decline this year: The 2012 Trends® in the U.S. Hotel Industry by PKF Hospitality Research reports that hotels in the USA enjoyed an increase in both room revenues (7.1%+) and net operating income (12.7%+) for 2011. The firm predicts that going forward in 2012 and beyond that these numbers will continue to rise. In a separate study and just released by Pegasus, a hotel expert reservations referreral system, it reports that bookings by travel agents across the GDS have slowed down considerably. “However, Julie Parodi, senior director of strategic planning for Pegasus and editor of The Pegasus View, said she doesn’t expect the number of bookings to continue to decline. Rather, she said, the global hotel industry has reached a “growth plateau” due to a lagging global economic recovery.” In contrast to those estimates, we could be looking at more distressed hotels if Dr. Doom has it right. According to this investment banker and financier in a HotelNewsNow.com article just this week, there are several issues to consider: Real unemployment in the USA is still at record highs (14.5%); GDP has not grown when inflation is factored in; and Uncertainty in the economy is still very great right now. In essence, many a hotel investment advisor believes significant improvements in both employment and GDP are necessary if we are to continue any kind of a sustained economic rise. This in turn will impact the growth in the travel and lodging industries we can expect this year and next. What say you or the hotel expert your firm follows on the state of the hotel industry? Please share your commentary and any related links below.