San Francisco Hotel Rates Suffer Largest Annual Drop Since Great Depression

Spurred by the ailing economy, San Francisco hotels have suffered their biggest annual rate decline since the Great Depression, meaning visitors should act now if they want to grab a bargain rate in the City by the Bay.

According to a report in the San Francisco Chronicle, the daily average of the city's room prices fell from $190.12 in 2008 to $160.27 in 2009-amounting to an almost 16 percent drop. The percentage marks a drop-off rate not seen since hotel numbers were first tracked in 1933.

The plummeting prices began in late 2008, and continued on throughout the year, ending in December with a monthly average of $132.81, according to the Chronicle.

The low rates were accompanied by fewer guests, with occupancy for the entire year down an average of 4.3 percent.

San Francisco wasn't the only city with lower-than-normal rates. While the city fared worse than its neighbors-Northern California's decline averaged out to 13 percent-it losses remained consistent with other large coastal cities.

The drop in room rates had a profound effect on San Francisco hotels, forcing at least 15 hotel owners in the city to default on loans, including the Stanford Court and the Four Seasons.

Industry professionals are optimistic, predicting tourism numbers will improve sometime this year.

The findings were disclosed by the hospitality industry research group, PKF Consulting.
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