"This is by far the most significant change in prices we've seen since we created the Hotel Price Index. Americans' travel dollars have never gone farther than in 2009," said David Roche, President of hotels.com . "As properties continue to roll out discounts and other incentives to attract guests, the gap between the top star categories has narrowed, giving travelers more value and making luxury more accessible than any other time in the past five years."
The United States followed a larger global trend with room rates around the world down 17 percent in the first half of the year, according to the HPI(TM). The fall in room rates was driven by price drops across every continent with hotel rooms in Europe down 16 percent, rates in North America and Asia both declining 17 percent, and hotel prices in Latin America falling 18 percent.
Some of the notable findings about U.S. destinations in the latest HPI report include:
• Las Vegas overtook New York City as the favorite domestic destination for U.S. travelers in the first half of 2009, with room rates in the city just $82 a night on average. Destinations rounding out the top five U.S. favorites included New York City, Orlando, Chicago and San Francisco.
• Las Vegas and New York City both experienced the nation's greatest drop in room rates with each destination down 30 percent compared to the same period the previous year. Despite this fall in hotel prices, New York City still held its spot as the most expensive U.S. destination of those tracked in the global list, with prices averaging $196 during Q1 and Q2 2009.
• Among the states, New York was the most expensive destination, followed by Hawaii, Massachusetts and Wyoming, whose ski tourism helped boost hotel prices in the state. The nation's least expensive states in the first half of 2009 included Nevada, with room rates just $77 on average, Idaho and Kansas.
• For Americans venturing outside the country, London usurped Toronto as the most popular destination for U.S. travelers, showing that despite trying economic times American travel overseas is beginning to pick up. The weakness of the Pound also meant London was particularly good value for U.S. travelers in the first half of 2009. Canadian cities still continued to attract U.S. travelers however and Toronto, Vancouver and Niagara Falls followed London on the list of international favorites for American travelers.
• For international travelers visiting the United States, New York, Las Vegas and San Francisco were the top destinations in Q1 and Q2 2009.
The hotels.com HPI tracks the real prices paid per hotel room rather than advertised rates, using a weighted average based on the number of rooms sold in each of the markets in which hotels.com operates. The HPI report issued today examines hotel prices paid at 78,000 hotels across 13,000 locations around the world for the period January to June 2009, compared to the same period the year before.
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