According to the latest, Hotel Price Index (HPI), released by hotels.com, prices paid per room, per night in Europe in 2011 mirror prices paid in 2004 when the HPI was first launched. Consistent demand for Western European hotspots and rising Eastern European tourist destinations, coupled with inflation contributed to a 2 percent increase in prices paid per room, per night across the continent in 2011.
“Europe remains a popular destination with London, Paris, Rome and Madrid ranking as top international destinations for American travelers,” said Victor Owens, vice president and general manager, North America for hotels.com. “The Index also highlights Eastern European destinations that are growing in demand, which is reflected in rising hotel rates across the region, though prices remain lower than most Western European cities.”
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Considered off the beaten path and less explored, travelers to Eastern Europe will find the region to be more affordable than Western counterparts. Want the Austro – Bavarian experience but not at Austria and Czech Republic prices? Head to Bratislava, Slovakia.
The country as a whole saw prices rise 12 percent to an average of $128. Perched on the banks of the Danube River and foothills of the Little Carpathians, Bratislava, the cultural heart of Slovakia is a booming tourist destination. Prices rose 8 percent over 2010 to $123 but still remain lower than Vienna ($166) or Prague ($139).
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Looking for French influence but don’t want to pay Paris hotel prices? Visit Bucharest, Romania, once known as “Little Paris” or “Paris of the East” for its influence of French architecture. Average hotel prices have risen 12 percent from $108 to $120.
Poland, Slovakia’s northern neighbor, is another growing tourism destination – overall hotel prices paid rose 3 percent. In southern Poland, on the northern fringe of the Tatra Mountains, the highest mountain range in the Carpathians, sits Krakow.
Relatively undamaged from World War II, Krakow’s historical identity and architectural legacy remain intact allowing travelers to enjoy the famous Wawel Castle, Kazimierz (The Jewish Quarter), St. Mary’s Church and more. Hotel prices in Krakow dropped 4 percent to $112. Other Polish cities including the capitol, Warsaw, and the Baltic coastal town, Gdasnk, saw slight increases in prices, 8 and 2 percent, respectively.
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As the confluence of Europe and Asia, Turkey continues to climb in popularity as an international destination for Americans. Istanbul in particular rose five spots to rank 28th in the overall list of most visited international destinations by Americans.
Hotel prices reflected this surge in demand as hotel prices paid rose 7 percent to $159 but still remain lower than London ($242), Paris ($229) and Rome ($205). Journey outside of Istanbul to Ankara ($117), the capital of Turkey, or Izmir ($127), an international port on the Mediterranean Sea, and travelers will find less expensive hotel prices and plenty of Turkish culture. Ankara and Izmir experienced small hotel price declines at 3 percent and 6 percent, respectively.
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With some careful research and a bit of patience, travelers looking to enjoy Western Europe can find hotel deals. France saw hotel prices rise 7 percent yet several towns saw prices decline including the French Alps resort town Annecy, France, which saw prices drop 5 percent to $145, and Lyon which saw prices drop 3 percent to $153.
Searching for sun and sand? The Mediterranean coastal towns of Valencia, Spain, and Viareggio, Italy offer savings. Valencia, known internationally for Las Fallas and La Tomatina, an annual tomato fight, saw prices drop 4 percent to $128. The Italian seaside resort town of Viareggio, home of the famous carnival of Viareggio, saw prices drop 32 percent from $261 to $176.
The HPI tracks the real prices paid per room by hotels.com customers around the world using a weighted average based on the number of rooms sold in each of the markets that hotels.com operates. The index started in 2004, and includes all bookings across the almost 149,000 properties in over 60 countries that make up the sample set of hotels from which prices are taken.
Hotels.com is a leading online accommodation booking website.