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HRS reminds travel and procurement managers to review travel programmes at any time to secure best room rates

Hotel rates in the UK and Ireland’s major cities rose by at least 9% in 2014 compared with 2013. London, Zurich and Paris are the most expensive cities in Europe at £157 per night, New York has the highest average room rate worldwide.
Hotel solutions provider HRS is reminding travel and procurement managers to review their travel programmes on a regular basis to get the best possible rates as they continue to soar in the UK and Ireland year on year.

According to latest research from HRS, average prices for hotel room nights grew solidly in all of the UK and Ireland’s major cities in 2014, compared with 2013. In contrast however, the average room rates significantly fluctuated in cities across Europe and worldwide.

HRS analysed all hotel bookings made via the HRS hotel portal in 2014, with results showing that in the UK and Ireland, hotels in Leeds recorded the highest price rise, with an average increase of 21.6% that could be attributed to the legacy of the Tour de France, kicking off in Yorkshire last summer.

London’s hotels followed closely behind (16.1%), with Birmingham hot on its heels (14.5%). Only London broke the £100 barrier, with average room rates costing £126 (165€) per night in 2014. Edinburgh was the second most expensive city, with an average room rate of £99 (130€), followed by Bristol at £87 (114€) on average per night.

The study showed that all of the UK and Ireland’s major cities had recorded an increase in average room rates of at least 9% for the year, compared with 2013. On average in 2014, the cheapest hotel room rate in the UK could be found in Birmingham for just £72 (95€), followed by Liverpool at £74 (97€), up 9% on the previous year.

Jon West, Managing Director of HRS UK & Ireland, said: “These figures show that UK hoteliers are clearly reaping the rewards from an uplift in demand from both leisure and business travellers. This is great news for hoteliers who are able to charge more on average for their rooms per night, but obviously not so great for guests paying a premium! In fact, as rates continue to increase in the UK and Ireland, and fluctuate globally, we really would urge travel and procurement managers to review the effectiveness of their travel programmes on a regular basis to ensure they’re getting the best rates possible to make substantial savings for the long-term.

Jon continued: “The hotel market is fragmented and highly complex; this means that many companies can often lack the necessary analysis tools and benchmark information needed in order to obtain and negotiate an efficient hotel programme. Companies are starting to realise that by accessing data and consultation services on an ongoing basis, they can really optimise their hotel procurement, whilst decreasing accommodation costs permanently. However, travel and procurement managers must also remember that sourcing can be done at any time of the year to make the most of their spend.”

Looking at Europe’s top destinations, London knocked Zurich off its top spot as the front-runner, with an average of £126 (165€) per night. The Swiss city dropped down to second place, costing £110 per night (144€), with Paris coming in third at £106 (139€).

Talking about the change of fortunes for other major destinations around Europe, Jon speculated: “With an increase of over 35%, Athens recorded the highest price rise in Europe. In 2013, the Greek capital belonged to the destinations with average room prices of less than £61 (80€). In 2014, they have risen to £80 (106€). A possible reason for this, amongst others, could be the continuing unrest in Egypt that generally led to a rise in overnight hotel accommodation requests for Mediterranean countries. The increase in demand motivated the hoteliers and led to a significant price rise in 2014, which, however, tended to subside by the end of the year.

“I was interested to see that Moscow has been knocked out of the top destinations for Europe; guests staying in Moscow paid 11.6% less for an overnight hotel stay in 2014 (£95/125€ per night) compared with the previous year (£108/141€) – this can be attributed to the dramatic plunge of the rouble.”

Oslo also experienced a strong price decline: in the last year, the average hotel room rate was only 115 euro, which is 13.3 per cent less than in 2013.

Last year, city travellers enjoyed the most favourable overnight hotel accommodation in Prague with an average room rate of £54 (71€), as well as in Budapest at £55 (72€) and Warsaw at £56 (74€).

New York is the world’s front-runner, followed by Washington and Rio de Janeiro According to HRS’ findings, on average the most expensive room rates worldwide can be found in New York at £157 (206€), Washington at £130 (170€) and Rio de Janeiro at £128 (168€).

In about three quarters of the international cities, many of the hotel room rates increased significantly. This was especially the case in New York, where the hotel room rate was £157 (206€) in 2014 - an increase of 10.3 per cent compared to the previous year.

In Kuala Lumpur (+22.8%), Washington (+17.2%), Mexico City (14.8%) and Toronto (13.1%) the average room rates also significantly increased.

In contrast, Seoul (-17.1%), Mumbai (-11.1%) and Bangkok (-10.7%) became more favourable in price. Bangkok was also the cheapest destination in an overall comparison of all destinations worldwide. In the capital of Thailand, visitors paid just £44 (58€) for a room night in the past year. In comparison with the average hotel room rate in New York, you could stay for almost four full nights in a hotel in Bangkok. The dramatic decrease in room rates in Bangkok could be attributed to civil unrest and attacks on travellers massively affecting tourism to the area.

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