There were 5,653 projects with 693,207 rooms in the U.S. hotel pipeline at the end of the second quarter of the year, a 6 percent increase in terms of projects and a 9 percent increase over last year for rooms, according to Lodging Econometrics. Once again, Marriott International, Hilton Worldwide and InterContinental Hotels Group dominated the pipeline and comprised 44 percent of projects.

THE U.S. HOTEL pipeline continued to fill in the second quarter despite business investment declining for the first time since 2016, according to Lodging Econometrics. And, as in the first quarter of the year, three companies dominated the pipeline and accounted for 44 percent of the total pipeline during the second quarter: Marriott International, Hilton Worldwide and InterContinental Hotels Group.

There were 5,653 projects with 693,207 rooms in the pipeline at the end of the second quarter of the year, a 6 percent increase in terms of projects and a 9 percent increase over last year for rooms, according to LE. That number is 230 projects short of the all-time high of 5,883 projects with 785,547 rooms reached in the second quarter of 2008.

The pipeline included 1,727 projects with 233,600 rooms currently under construction, another 2,552 projects with 295,989 rooms scheduled to start construction in the next 12 months, the highest levels for both categories since 2008. There were 1,374 projects with 163,618 rooms in the early planning stage in the pipeline.

Marriott had 1,469 projects with 193,458 rooms in the pipeline, a 9 percent increase by projects and rooms over last year’s second quarter. Hilton had 1,372 projects with 152,853 rooms, a 3 percent increase, while IHG had 962 projects with 97,647 rooms, also up 3 percent by projects and rooms, according to LE.

The leading brands for each of these companies were Home2 Suites by Hilton with 413 projects wotj 43,040 rooms; IHG’s Holiday Inn Express with 410 projects with 38,814 rooms; and Marriott’s Fairfield Inn with 300 projects with 29,133 rooms.

New hotel openings for the first half of the year reached 456 projects with 53,427 rooms, and nearly 600 more projects with almost 130,000 rooms are expected to open by the end of the year. LE is expecting 2.5 percent growth in 2021 with 1,206 new hotels with 139,793 rooms opening, which will be the highest number of new openings since 2009 if it comes to pass.

However, LE also said the pipeline “is in a topping out formation,” indicated by the fact that 359 projects with 44,895 rooms were announced in the second quarter, the lowest amount since 2014’s fourth quarter. Conversions also are at their lowest since the end of 2016.

“Although government spending and consumer sentiment and spending remain strong, these declines can be attributed to business spending declines which have turned negative for the first time since early 2016,” LE said. “Declines are due primarily to the uncertainty caused by trade and tariff problems and the slowing global economy.”