Hotels.com UK has announced that hotel prices in the UK fell by 13% last year, taking prices across the country to their lowest levels for six years. The UK, which three years ago boasted of the most expensive hotel rooms of any European country, has now slipped to thirteenth place in the league table of European nations.
According to the Hotels.com Hotel Price Index (HPI), the price of a hotel room in the UK was down by 13% in 2009 compared with 2008. On average, Britons paid GBP84 for rooms across the country in 2009, down from GBP97 per night the previous year.
For overseas visitors to the UK, the news was even better as the weakness of the Pound coupled with hoteliers lowering their rates to stimulate business meant that the average prices paid by travellers from Europe or the US was down by up to 32% in some UK cities.
The average price paid was down in almost every major UK destination, the only cities to escape the falls were Newquay (where prices rose 13% in 2009) and Oxford (where prices were up 14%). However, the overall trend was for hoteliers to cut their prices. The falls meant that London became a more affordable destination for those planning a visit to the capital, with prices down 7% on 2008, to GBP106 per night on average.
Despite prices falling in Bath by 11% year-on-year it remained the UK’s most expensive city, with its relatively low number of hotel rooms and predominance in the luxury sector. Experiencing the steepest price falls for UK travellers were Southampton (where prices were down 30% to GBP61 per room per night), Belfast (down 27% to GBP67) and Aberdeen (down 26% to GBP78).
The HPI also showed:
For the UK’s cheapest rooms, the Midlands was the place to go as Coventry emerged as the UK’s best-value city. Prices in Edinburgh were down by 6% to GBP95 per night, while prices in Cardiff dropped 11% to GBP81 per night. Prices on Jersey dropped by 17% to an average price of GBP93 per night, which helped dispel its image as an expensive destination.
David Roche, President of Hotels.com, said: “Step inside the time machine, turn the dial back to 2003, and compare hotel prices then and now. What’s changed? Not much. Our latest HPI, covering all of 2009, shows that prices fell globally by 14% on already weak 2008 figures, bringing consumer prices back to levels not seen since 2003.
“Despite some possible first signs of hotel prices recovering in Europe and the US in the last quarter of 2009, the promotions and great value look set to continue for some time yet. 2010 promises to be another great year for the traveller.”