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Wish-list to hit-list: Hotel prices in popular destinations dive in 2011

Profile Photo By: H L
March 13, 2012

Wish-list to hit-list: Hotel prices in popular destinations dive in 2011

?While the Australian Dollar rose against the world?s major currencies in 2011, the cost of hotel rooms in many overseas cities fell. As a result, Australian travellers were laughing all the way to the airport, en route to traditionally expensive European cities, Asian hotspots and the US.?

According to the latest Hotel Price Index? (HPI?), hotel prices in more than half of the countries surveyed were cheaper for Australian travellers in 2011, compared to 2010, despite the global average price of a hotel room rising 4%. Of the 51 countries analysed, there were price falls in 30.??

In Europe, economic woes across the region meant Australian travellers had a unique opportunity to visit some of the world?s most famous holiday spots. Hotel prices dipped in countries like Portugal (-10%), Germany (-7%), Belgium (-7%), Finland (-6%) and even France (-5%), usually an expensive destination for Australian travellers.

European cities where prices fell included: Berlin, down 12% to $129 AUD; Madrid, down 9% to $141 AUD; Lisbon, down 6% to $132 AUD; Rome, down 4% to $205 AUD; and Paris, down 4% to $220 AUD.?

Despite some European cities being more attractive than ever, a number of destinations remained unaffected thanks to robust economies. For instance, hotel prices in Sweden rose 10% to $201 AUD, Denmark rose 9% to $195 AUD and Switzerland rose 6% to $227 AUD.?

Taormina, Sicily, bucked the Eurozone trend to post an increase of 6% to average $268 AUD per night, launching it to the top of the list of most expensive destinations, equal only with New York. Italy?s Florence also increased 10% to $185 AUD and Sorrento increased 8% to $196 AUD.?

Johan Svanstrom, Vice President and Managing Director, Asia Pacific for, said: ?On the whole, Australians are in a great position to enjoy international travel again this year, especially to Europe, where they haven?t seen such favourable exchange rates in decades. Hotel rates in the region are still far below 2006 levels, meaning travellers can find outstanding value for money.??

It was a mixed result for the US, a favourite with Australian travellers taking advantage of the strong Dollar. Prices in Boston and Washington DC dropped 6% to $218 AUD and $197 AUD respectively, while Chicago and Orlando fell 4% to $170 AUD and $111 AUD respectively. However, some popular tourist and business hubs became more expensive in 2011. Prices in San Francisco rose 10% to $190 AUD, Anaheim was up 8% to $133 AUD and Los Angeles rose 5% to $176 AUD. Miami, Florida, was also up 5% to $188 AUD. New York remained the most expensive destination at $268 AUD, despite a 6% fall.?

Overall, hotel prices in Asia dropped 2%, and sought-after holiday destinations, such as Thailand, Bali and Vietnam, posted double-digit falls, making Asia a winner for travellers looking for value for money. In Thailand, prices in Koh Samui and Phuket fell 15% and 8% to $157 AUD and $125 AUD respectively. In Vietnam, prices fell in Ho Chi Minh City by 8% to $87 and, in Hanoi, prices fell 5% to $83 AUD.?

At the other end of the scale, hotel room rates increased in Hong Kong 7% to $187. Prices in Singapore also increased, up 4% to $217. These increases were due to healthy corporate demand and their attractiveness as stop-over cities en route to Europe.?

Top 5 price falls by city

(% price falls by city in 2011 compared with 2010 in AUD)?

City? 2011? 2010? % change?
New Delhi 115 157 -27%
Hiroshima 106 140 -24%
Shanghai 113 149 -24%
Kyoto 135 166 -19%
Johannesburg 144 169 -15%

Top 5 price rises by city

(% price rises by city in 2011 compared with 2010 in AUD)?

City 2011 2010 % change
Christchurch 118 97 22%
Brisbane 174 148 18%
Perth 184 157 17%
Wellington 125 107 17%
Geneva 261 227 15%

Focus on Australia?

Australia?s stable economy, coupled with steady corporate and leisure demand saw hotel room rates rise 9% year-on-year, averaging $166 per night. Three quarters of the domestic destinations surveyed experienced price increases.?

However, there was still value to be found in a number of cities and popular holiday destinations throughout Australia, which were on par or cheaper than hotel prices in popular overseas destinations.?

Perth knocked Sydney off its perch as being the most expensive capital city, rising 17% to $184 AUD. Brisbane wasn?t too far behind Sydney, rising 18% to $174. Canberra performed consistently in 2011 with hotel prices dropping 2% to $184.?

Cairns topped the list as the most affordable domestic holiday destination in 2011 at $119 per night, while The Whitsundays, one of Australia?s most exotic holiday destinations, averaged $284 per night.?

Top five cheapest Australian destinations in 2011 compared with 2010 (in AUD):?

City 2011 2010 % change
Cairns 119 118 0%
Alice Springs 129 139 -7%
Launceston 131 156 -16%
Townsville 140 126 11%
Adelaide 147 142 4%

Top five most expensive Australian destinations in 2011 compared with 2010 (in AUD):?

City 2011 2010 % change
Whitsunday Islands 284 271 5%
Byron Bay 192 192 0%
Sunshine Coast 187 173 8%
Hunter Valley 185 171 8%
Perth 184 157 17%

Johan Svanstrom said that despite overseas travel being more affordable than ever, Australians still love exploring their own backyard.

?Despite domestic hotel prices rising last year in many popular holiday spots, there were still plenty of affordable travel options. There are always great deals on accommodation so it?s a matter of keeping an eye out and being flexible with travel dates to get the best deal.?

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