THE performance of Hong Kong hotels in September was below expectations, recording an average room occupancy of 83 per cent, a fall of three percentage points from the same month last year. Analysts were disappointed because a stronger performance was forecast in view of the decline in supply of new hotel rooms. Another factor expected to boost levels was the recent closure of properties as owners opted to redevelop prime sites as commercial buildings. Sassoon Securities analyst Vivian Kwok said room supply was expected to decline 1.3 per cent this year. 'In view of those factors, room occupancy was expected to be given a boost,' she said. The performance of the hotel industry is even more disappointing given that September is the start of the high season where average room occupancy in the territory starts picking up. According to Ms Kwok, the failure of hotels to post a pick-up in average room occupancy holds the portent that visitor arrivals to the territory may be in for a slowdown. High-tariff A hotels recorded an average room occupancy of 80 per cent, a fall of three percentage points from the same period last year. High-tariff B hotels also took a fall to 87 per cent, seven percentage points down from the same month last year. Ms Kwok said levels of occupancy in high-tariff B hotels had been affected by the fall in arrivals from Southeast Asia and Taiwan, the latter being affected by a series of incidents hitting Taiwanese confidence in travel to the mainland. Medium tariff hotels recorded an average room occupancy of 86 per cent, unchanged from last year. The worst blow to the industry can after Taiwan boycotted China travel in reaction to what Taipei authorities said was unsatisfactory investigation of the mass murder of Taiwanese tourists at Qingdao Lake earlier this year.