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Hotel Prices Up Five Percent Since 2011
The newest data from the Hotel Price Index shows that North America has had the second fastest rise in average hotel prices in the first half of 2012, to the tune of about a five percent increase over what they were in 2011.
The good news, however, is that prices remain ten "index points" behind the 2007 peak and are still, on average, less costly than they were in 2006.
The data, tracked by booking website Hotels.com, shows that prices rose globally about four percent during the first half of the year, the first time in five years that the HPI has increased globally.
"A new leaf for the hotel sector is on the horizon, as illustrated by the fact that 26 out of 30 cities on Americans' most preferred domestic destinations list had an average daily rate increase in the first half of 2012," said Victor Owens, vice president and general manager, Hotels.com North America in a release.
West Coast Isn't Laid Back When It Comes to Prices
The West Coast has accounted for a majority of consistent domestic price increases for the first half of the year, with many popular cities raising prices between five and 13 percent.
San Francisco elevated prices by nearly $20, from $135 in 2011 to $153 in 2012. Monterey also showed a notable increase of 10 percent to $147 in the first half of this year.
San Diego, which displayed a modest average daily rate increase of 6 percent, has steadily been making its way up the list of favorite domestic cities among Americans. This year, it has overtaken Chicago ($158) as the fourth favorite city among U.S. travelers, making it the first California city to break into the top four, joining reigning favorites Las Vegas ($101), New York City ($205) and Orlando ($110), respectively.
Americans are spending roughly $125 a night on domestic hotel stays, a five percent year-over-year increase. Data also shows an increased number of U.S. bookings seen over the past six months.
In order to stand out in this increasingly competitive sector, hoteliers are revamping and upgrading their properties, or expanding into the luxury segment, which may account for some of the price increases.
Luxury travel trends such as spa tourism and shopping continue to drive bookings in destinations like New York City and Miami, yet Americans remain consistently vigilant about getting the best value for their dollar. All-inclusives, package deals, and add-ons, such as free breakfast, free Wi-Fi, ground transport or show tickets are all key offerings Americans are on the look-out for to make their dollar go further.
How to Snag A Deal
Prices in some all-time favorite Southern European cities such as Athens, Greece (down 11 percent), Toledo, Spain (down 9 percent), and Pisa, Italy (down 8 percent), are all on the down-swing according to prices paid by North American's in the first half of this year – a likely result of significant drops in local currency.
Surprisingly, the UEFA Euro Cup and the ramp-up to the Summer Games did not create a significant price increase for the region, as Europe and the Middle East as a whole displayed the least amount of growth from a global perspective in the first half of 2012, only increasing by a worldwide average of 1 percent. Warsaw, Poland (up 9 percent), was able to reap some benefits of its Euro Cup tourism, while business and group travel in London (up 1 percent) was affected due to limited inventory and the expected influx of leisure tourism as a result of added attractions for the Summer Games.
The HPI tracks data from 140,000 global hotels in the Hotels.com database.