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World hotel prices slump: Survey

business Updated: Mar 25, 2009 10:36 IST

Hotel prices around the world fell in the fourth quarter of last year, with the steepest declines seen in the United States and Canada, a survey published on Tuesday showed.

In North America, the average price paid for a hotel room was down by 12 per cent between October and December last year compared with the same period in 2007, a survey by hotels.com of some 68,000 properties in more than 12,500 locations, showed.

In Europe, hotel prices fell by 10 per cent, in the Caribbean and Latin America by seven per cent, and in Asia by just two per cent.

The slump in the hotel market in the Americas was blamed on US domestic demand being sharply down and a drop in numbers of tourists from Europe, as they "tightened their travel budgets," the survey said.

In Europe, prices fell as hoteliers slashed rates to try to keep occupancy levels up in the final quarter of last year.

Asia saw a less brutal price drop, but it was the first time quarterly prices have gone south in the region since hotels.com started its index in January 2004.

Most cities aruond the world saw prices fall, and some saw them positively plummet, illustrating the hotel industry's sensitivity to geopolitical and economic events, the poll said.

Prices in Mumbai were down by more than 40 per cent, following the terrorist attacks in the Indian city in November.

Reykjavik was a close second, with prices falling 36 per cent as the economy of Iceland collapsed.

Cape Town, Las Vegas and Manila saw prices fall by nearly a third, London, New York, Sydney and Venice by nearly a quarter, Moscow by 17 per cent, and Paris by 10 per cent, reflecting the global economic slump.

But some cities bucked the trend and saw prices rise.

Sao Paolo had the steepest rise, with the price of a room increasing by nearly a quarter -- 23 per cent -- to 151 dollars on average, the poll showed.

"Rio de Janeiro was another city in which prices rose notably -- up 13 per cent year-on-year, reflecting Brazil's popularity as a leisure and business destination," it said.

Among major European cities, only Geneva saw prices go up, according to the poll: the price paid by guests for a hotel room was up 11 per cent in the Swiss city for the period.

Among US cities that saw prices rise, rooms in Washington were three per cent dearer at the end of 2008 than during the final quarter of 2007, as people booked accommodation ahead of the inauguration of President Barack Obama, the poll said.

Cairo and Jerusalem also saw hotel prices rise, by eight and nine per cent respectively, reflecting a period of relative calm in the Middle East during most of the polling period, until conflict erupted between Israeli troops and Palestinian militants in Gaza at the end of December.