Hotel bargains in 2010 topped by Europe, especially Ireland, says hotels.com
If you thought it was a little easier to travel last year compared to previous years, you win the prize. The folks at hotels.com sent out their Hotel Price Index for 2010 today and found a stronger Canadian dollar and the still shaky global economy helped Canadians find "significant" travel savings last year.
The study found Canadians paid eight percent less for a hotel room in Europe (averaging $159.67* per night), "as many European economies recovered at a slower rate than Canada. On a national basis, Canadian hotel room prices were unchanged at $136 per night."
I always tell folks that Europe isn't as expensive as you might think. You can almost always a clean but modest hotel in a big city for $150 or so, and this study bears that out. I find Best Westerns to be a little sharper and sexier overseas than they are here in North America, so those almost always are worth checking out in Paris and London and such. I've stayed in some nice, small hotels near St. Germain-des-Pres in Paris for $150. And don't forget most European hotels throw in your breakfast, so that's a bonus.
The hotels.com study found that great deals were to be had in Ireland, with an average paid rate (not advertised rate but what was actually paid out of pocket) of just $112.22 per night, down a whopping 19 percent from 2009. In Italy, room rates were down by nine percent, while Canadians paid two percent less on average for rooms across the U.K.
“In many cases, like Ireland, there were significant savings for Canadian travellers,” said Victor Owens, vice president of North America for Hotels.com. “Even in the U.S., where the discounts were perhaps not as dramatic for Canadians, the strong Canadian dollar, coupled with discounted rates, made travelling south of the border very attractive.”
The Hotel Price Index found five of the top international destinations visited by Canadians were all in the U.S., where Canadians paid six percent less ($135.93) for rooms than they did a year earlier. Las Vegas was the top destination, followed by New York, Seattle, Orlando and San Francisco. London dropped from number three a year earlier to number six. (Seattle is a bit of a surprise to me but it could be Vancouver folks out for a weekend in a fine city, or perhaps lured south by cheaper air fares to other destinations. Or maybe they're just Seattle Seahawks fans?)
At home, Canadians travelled most frequently to Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver. Prices were up four percent in Toronto ($135.62), pushed higher in part by the city hosting the G20 Summit. The return of F1 racing to Montreal helped prop Montreal rates up six percent last year to $147.79. Vancouver saw prices drop two percent to $140.41 from 2009 when room prices averaged $142.58. In the first half of 2010, Vancouver room rates averaged $147, indicating that room prices returned to more normal levels after peaking during the Olympics.
Canada’s top resort cities were the most expensive to visit. Rooms in the resort area of Tofino, BC were the most expensive at $230.11 (up 7%). Lake Louise, AB, wasn’t far behind at $213.99 (down 4%). Mont Tremblant, QC ($209.19), saw an increase of 10%, as did Whistler, BC ($177.73), according to the study.