Lodging Econometrics reports that six new hotels will launch in the U.S. luxury segment this year, compared with 23 luxury-hotel openings three years ago. Industry members say the economic environment is responsible for the decline, which is prompting developers and investors to shift their focus toward lower-tier hotel projects and forcing existing luxury hotels to cut room rates to stay full. "It's nearly impossible to do a new five-star built in the U.S. that makes economic sense today. The total number of luxury-hotel rooms is very likely going to be less in five years from now as compared to today," said Steven Goldberg, head of real estate investment banking at Robert W. Baird & Co.

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