Hotel Rates Dropped 14% Worldwide in 2009

Hotel prices around the globe fell 14 percent during the last half of 2009, meaning travelers will remember last year as a time when hotel prices fell in unprecedented numbers and vacationers snatched up some of the best bargains seen in years.

Data in a study released yesterday by booking website shows some distinct travel trends. First, travelers take the strength of their currency into account when choosing destinations-which is why U.S. travelers took more domestic vacations last year. Second, traditionally expensive destinations are becoming more affordable and accessible-such as New York, a city that added 4,000 hotel rooms last year and saw an increased number of travelers, yet hotel rates dropped nearly 25 percent. Finally, the price gap between 3, 4, and 5 star hotels narrowed last year, meaning travelers could upgrade more than ever before.

Hotel rooms were cheaper in 2009 than when began their study in 2004. Domestic prices fell 14% on average. Chicago, San Diego, and Las Vegas each saw an 18 percent decrease in room prices. Boston and Miami also saw a steep drop at 14 percent.

Globally, rooms cost 13% less in Europe, 16% less in Asia, and 21% less in Latin America then they did in 2008.

The steepest falls between 2008 and 2009 were in Moscow (down 44%) and Mumbai (down 32%). Beijing also saw a huge drop-29%-since the city hosted the summer Olympics in 2008.

Only five major global cities saw hotel room prices rise in 2009: Capri (21%), Rio de Janeiro (10%), Sao Paulo (7%), Jerusalem (5%), and Bali (1%).

Although it appears as though hotel prices have stopped falling, President David Roche predicts that travelers are in "for another year of extraordinary value" in 2010.

According to the survey, the top five most popular cities for U.S. travelers are Las Vegas, New York, Orlando, Chicago, and Los Angeles. Toronto, London, Vancouver, Niagara Falls, and Paris top the list of international destinations for U.S. travelers. The favored destination in Asia is Hong Kong, the only major destination is Asia to make it onto U.S. travelers top ten list. Travelers coming to the U.S. from overseas make the most frequent stops in New York, Las Vegas, Miami, San Francisco, and Los Angeles.

Approximately 94,000 properties in over 16,000 locations are referenced for the study. Prices are based on those actually paid by customers through the website, not on advertised rates.
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