WADE DANIELS Staff Reporter After raising their nightly room rates and enjoying increasing occupancy rates for most of the year, San Fernando Valley hotels are starting to see a decline in business, said Melissa Mills, an analyst at PKF Consulting in Los Angeles, which monitors the tourism industry. In September, the Valley’s average occupancy rate was 72.7 percent, down from 78.17 percent the previous month. However, the average price for a night at a Valley hotel increased by 1 percent, to $105.88. That is 4 percent higher than the price in September 1997, according the PKF. “It depends some on which hotel we’re talking about, but (overall) the Valley may be reaching some price resistance,” Mills said. “Some of the more expensive hotels have really been raising their rates.” She said there is typically a drop-off in occupancy rates at the end of summer when tourist traffic wanes. However, this year’s 5.5 percent decline from August to September appeared especially severe, and the area’s rising room rates may be a factor. (By comparison, last year there was a 4.58 percent drop in vacancies from August to September, and average nightly prices fell in that period by about $2, to $98.83.) From January through September of this year, the average price for a room in the Valley increased by 7.4 percent, while the average occupancy rate decreased by 0.2 percent. As with other Los Angeles-area hotels and tourist attractions, Valley hotels are being affected by economic problems in Asia, which have resulted in fewer visitors.