Hotel Price Index

cover

Introduction

The Hotels.com® Hotel Price IndexTM (HPI®) is a regular report on hotel prices in major destinations across the world. The HPI is based on bookings made on Hotels.com sites and prices shown are those actually paid by customers per room per night, rather than advertised rates.

Now in its tenth year, the HPI is respected as the definitive report on hotel prices paid around the world and is increasingly used as a reference tool by the media, hoteliers, financial analysts, investors, tourism bodies and academics.

The international scale of Hotels.com, in terms of the number of customers, properties and destinations covered, makes the Hotel Price Index one of the most comprehensive benchmarks available. It incorporates both chain and independent hotels, as well as options such as self-catering and bed & breakfast properties.

The HPI was started in 2004 at 100 and includes all bookings across all star ratings from one-star to five-star. More than 150,000 properties around the world make up the sample set of hotels from which prices are taken.

The HPI report focuses on two main sources of data:

The first section (Chapter 1) shows the global Hotel Price Index for 2013, with comparative data back to 2004. The Index is compiled from all relevant transactions on Hotels.com during this period, weighted to reflect the size of each market. By representing hotel price movements in an index, Hotels.com can illustrate the actual price movements as paid by consumers, without foreign exchange fluctuations distorting the picture.

The second section (Chapters 2-6) shows hotel prices across the world per room per night as paid by travelers from the U.S. in 2013 compared with 2012. Chapters 3 and 5 cover the most popular international cities for American travelers and the most popular U.S. cities for international visitors. Prices throughout are rounded to the nearest U.S. Dollar and percentage figures to the nearest percentage point.

Chapter 8 highlights key travel trends that will influence travel decisions in 2014. The final chapter focuses on some additional travel facts identified by Hotels.com.

Reports are also available in other currencies and languages. Please contact hotels.com@finnpartners.com. Follow the discussions on Twitter @hotelsdotcom with #HotelExperts.

foreword-1

Foreword

Welcome to our latest Hotels.com Hotel Price Index (HPI) which takes a comprehensive look at what happened to prices paid by hotel guests around the world during 2013.

“Travel and change of place impart new vigour to the mind,” said the Roman philosopher Seneca and it seems that many people are still taking his words to heart nearly two thousand years later. According to UNWTO (the United Nations World Tourism Organization), international tourist arrivals in 2013 grew by 5% to a record 1,087 million. This was 52 million more than the previous year and well above expectations.

The HPI tracked this result, recording global growth of 3% in the average amount paid for accommodation during the year. This means we have now seen four years of solid progress since hotel prices nose-dived during the financial collapse of 2008. As a whole, rates are not back to where they were even in 2006, yet one of the world’s regions has set a new all-time high.

Record for Latin America

With the economic gains made in Brazil over the last few years and Mexico now being named as one of the next powerhouses of the world economy by the British economist Jim O’Neill, it was perhaps not surprising that Latin America was the region that became the first global region to see its Index figure overtake its 2007 pre-crisis peak with a 5% increase over last year.The Caribbean was also not far away from achieving this as its 5% rise meant reached par to its 2007 level.

The U.S. hotel industry had the highest number of rooms available (1.7 billion) and the highest number of rooms sold (1.1 billion) during 2013 and these better occupancy levels helped the North American HPI climb 3%, equaling the global average. One out of every eight jobs in the USA depends on travel so continued hospitality strength is welcome news for the economy.

Economic recovery

The economic recovery in Europe seems to be gathering greater momentum. In December, Ireland became the first country to exit the Eurozone bailout programme, in January this year the UK announced yet another fall in its unemployment levels and, that same month, the Bundesbank said it expected the growth in the German economy, Europe’s largest, to accelerate yet further in the first quarter.

UNWTO figures show that Europe welcomed an additional 29 million international tourist arrivals in 2013, raising the total to 563 million. Russia, now the world’s fifth largest outbound market, reported an increase in tourism expenditure of 26% for the first nine months of the year and is now only second to China in its rate of spending growth.

All of these factors helped the European HPI advance 2%. It still had the lowest Index level among the regions but all indicators point to the fact that the outlook for the sector is more hopeful.

APAC behind the curve

Asia and the Pacific were the two areas that were not able to join the party in 2013.

The Pacific HPI was level with its 2012 result. Although overall visitor numbers to Australia, the region’s main market, were up 5% for the year, the slump in the Australian mining industry impacted hotel occupancy levels in Western Australia in particular and the over-inflated prices seen there in recent years started to fall, in some cases quite considerably.

Asia was affected by a number of factors during the year. Currencies in both Japan and India fell steeply which had a negative effect on outbound tourism, particularly hitting South Korea where the Japanese are the most important source market. There was a fall in the number of inbound visitors and overnight stays in China, although outbound travel remained buoyant. Civil unrest in Thailand also began to have a bearing on visitor numbers. The region’s HPI fell 2% and Asia continues to offer some of the world’s best value hotel accommodation.

Negative headlines

The overall strong travel industry growth in 2013 and its healthy future outlook was dampened by bad news emanating from a few key tourism markets.

Egypt had begun the year well with the Egyptian Tourism Ministry announcing a 10% rise in visitors during the first half of the year. However, since the President was deposed in July, demonstrations have continued with television footage beamed around the world. Prices in Sharm-el-Sheikh have begun to fall once again for many visitors and the tourism situation remains uncertain.

Thailand has become a very popular holiday destination worldwide but the anti-government protests that began in October 2013 began to impact visitor numbers towards the end of the year, particularly in Bangkok. All this was too late to have much impact on 2013 hotel prices but the picture in 2014 could be very different, depending on the aftermath of the elections in February 2014.

2014 the year for sport

On a lighter note, sports fans are looking forward to 2014 with two major worldwide events: the Sochi Winter Olympics and Paralympics in Russia in February and March and the FIFA World Cup in Brazil in June and July. Often on these occasions, there is not only a lot of travel to the host nations but also out of them as many locals escape the intense and nonstop commotion surrounding the events. The travel industry naturally does its best to encourage both trades. Both Russia and Brazil will be left with a legacy of improved infrastructure and more hotel rooms which will bring greater benefits in the longer term, particularly as Brazil also prepares for the Olympic Games in 2016.

The UNWTO forecast for 2014 is for an extra 4 million to 4.5 million international arrivals on top of the gains made this year. As long as the global economic improvement continues, there would appear to be no reason why yet more people would not follow Seneca’s advice and indulge in the joys of travel.

We hope you enjoy reading our report.

Johan Svanstrom

President of the Hotels.com brand

chapter1-1

Global prices changes

This chapter examines the movement in the Hotel Price Index since 2004 on a global and regional basis. It also includes insights from the Hotels.com senior management team in each region to help explain the more recent changes.

The average price of a hotel room around the world rose by 3% during 2013, when compared with 2012.This is the fourth year running that the full year HPI has increased and the rate of growth equaled that recorded between 2011 and 2012.

The Hotel Price Index stood at 110 at the end of 2013, just ten points higher than at its launch in 2004. It was still seven points lower than its peak in 2007 and just below its 2006 level.

Of the six regions covered by the HPI, the Index rose in four, was flat in one and fell in another. Strong results were recorded in Latin America and the Caribbean, which both saw a 5% increase, while North America was up 3%, matching the global result. Europe and the Middle East saw a more modest 2% rise with the Pacific flat and Asia down 2%.

More in-depth analysis into what caused these changes and how they influenced prices in individual cities and countries can be found below and in subsequent chapters.

HPI half-yearly breakdown from H1 2004 to H2 2013 globally

fig01

Carolina Piber
General Manager LatAm
of the Hotels.com brand
Carolina Piber

The HPI in Latin America achieved its historical peak of 129 since HPI was launched in 2004. In a fast growing region like Latin America with emerging markets showing solid economic growth, it is expected to see increases in prices paid as demand becomes stronger.

However, parts of the region were heavily impacted by economic factors that also reflected in actual prices paid by travelers. Brazil had around a 40% devaluation of its currency vs. the U.S. dollar year-over-year and this impact can be seen in the increases in daily rates for international destinations, particularly the U.S. and Europe. Colombia and Argentina also suffered from shifts in their foreign exchange, witnessing two-digit growth for many destinations away from home.

In 2013, we saw the consolidation of a growing middle class in many of the countries of the region, like Brazil and Mexico. This growth coupled with an increased domestic air capacity in the region and more stable economies led to an interesting dynamic in hotel prices. Some destinations saw minimal to moderate increases, while tourism in Argentina benefited from more intense promotional activity, driving domestic prices down.

Brazil had a particularly volatile 2013 in terms of foreign exchange stability. The country saw a gradual but constant devaluation of its currency year-over-year that impacted the prices paid for the favorite destinations of Brazilians, such as the United States and the main capitals of Europe. We saw a steep increase in prices, particularly in European destinations. As Europe and the U.S. also grow stronger, our markets also feel the impact of their recovery, as evidenced by higher prices. On a similar note, domestic travel in Brazil experienced a boost as internal demand grew larger and these destinations became interesting alternatives to international travel, while international attention was focused on Brazil as the home of some key global events such as the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympics.

Mexico, on an opposite trend, saw increases in the prices paid by travelers. Mexico’s internal travel has always been very strong and 2013 kept the trend of previous years. As for international destinations, Mexico felt the effect of its neighbor, the USA, recovering steadily for the last couple of years and increases were aligned to that trend.

Colombia, currently one of the fastest growing countries in the region, with an economic growth of 4.5% year over year has received a significant investment in the travel sector. Many new hotels have been built throughout 2013 in Bogota, Cali and Cartagena, driving a bigger supply while generating a favorable price situation for travelers.

Argentina has suffered from a slowdown of international demand for local destinations that reflected in more promotions and special offers to boost some of these both to local and international visitors. Though not as steep as in Colombia, Argentina also saw a reduction in actual prices paid in top local destinations.

HPI half-yearly breakdown for LatAm and the Caribbean from H1 2004 to H2 2013

fig03

Record HPI level for Latin America

  • The HPI in Latin America saw a 5% increase for the full year 2013, compared with 2012, up two percentage points over the global figure.
  • As a result, the 2013 HPI for Latin America reached a new record high of 129, the second highest behind the Caribbean. The previous peak of 125 was set in 2007, just as the global financial crisis began to develop towards the end of that year.
  • Although this is solid progress, the second half of the year saw a slowdown in the Index growth when viewed against the 7% rise recorded for the first six months of 2013.

Caribbean equalled its peak

  • The Caribbean registered another strong performance with its HPI rising 5% during 2013, compared with the same period in 2012, equalling the level of growth seen in Latin America.
  • After four years of consistent growth, this led to the Caribbean 2013 HPI matching its all-time high of 131 set in 2007, making it the highest of all the regions.
Neha Parikh
Vice President North America
of the Hotels.com brand
Neha Parikh Hotelscom

American author Henry Miller once wrote: “One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.”In 2013, North Americans revisited familiar places near and far, whether to explore mountainous peaks from Colorado to Whistler, to try their luck at glitzy Vegas hotels, to lend a hand rebuilding houses in New Jersey for Hurricane Sandy relief or assist with flooding clean-up and recovery in Calgary: the old and familiar transformed to contemporary as travelers set their sights back to North America’s beloved destinations.

With the Canadian exchange rate declining throughout the last half of 2013 to a three-year low, U.S. travelers took the opportunity to cross the border and explore the country’s cultural and entertainment capital Toronto, which surpassed Rome as the third-most popular international destination for Americans for the first time since 2010. And Canadians continued to visit the U.S. with regularity as eight of their 10 Most Popular International Cities were in America, with the luck of Las Vegas luring more Canadians than New York City for the first time.

International travelers to North America also frequented destinations on both coasts and the heartland. Chinese travelers visited American and Canadian favorites like New York City, Toronto and Los Angeles. Brazilian travelers shopped along Ocean Drive and spied the California coast line. North American cities make up more than a quarter of Chinese and Brazilian travelers’ 20 Most Popular International Cities, with the Chinese adding a new favorite, Chicago, to their list. Foreign visitors from east, south and everywhere in between visited Washington, D.C. to capture glimpses of U.S. history and western heritage in Calgary, Alberta which rebounded from disastrous floods over the summer to jump two spots in popularity, to number five, amongst international visitors to Canada.

If there were a common denominator amongst travelers near and far, it was mobile technology. Mobile travel was expected to exceed $8 billion with 6.5% of the total travel market in 2013 and nearly quadruple by the end of 2015 to $39.5 billion in revenue and 25% market share. Yet mobile travelers aren’t just relying on smartphones. According to PhoCusWright, tablet use has skyrocketed with 44% of travelers owning tablets and an additional four in 10 planning to purchase a tablet by the end of 2014. The disruption of smartphones by tablets signals that online travel planning is being split across multiple web-enabled devices creating a new interface to interact with consumers.

With the fast paced growth of international travelers and ensuing technological advances, the coming 12 months is sure to give travelers far and wide a new way of seeing things.

 

HPI half-yearly breakdown for North America from H1 2004 to H2 2013

fig4

North American growth slowed

  • The North American HPI rose 3% in 2013, compared with 2012. This represents four years of continuous growth in the regional Index but the rate has slackened since the 5% rises achieved in 2011 and 2012.
  • With this increase, the North American 2013 HPI rose to 111.
  • This equalled its 2006 level but was still six Index points behind its 2007 peak of 117. The North American HPI fell 21 points during the global economic crisis, dropping to 96 in 2009.
Matthew Walls
Vice President EMEA
of the Hotels.com brand
Portraits Expedia Senior Management.

Following two straight years of consolidation when average prices remained flat, 2013 brought significant change for travelers across the EMEA region. While the Hotel Price Index rose just 2% for the year as a whole, we have seen a significant shift around the middle of the year towards higher demand, which mirrors the economic recovery being reported across Europe.

As confidence grows on the part of consumers, we are seeing a change in demand back towards overseas travel. For 2012 and the first half of 2013, domestic trips grew much more strongly and we can see that demand strength reflected in the rates customers are paying for local hotels.

The “hotspots” for European travelers are aptly named this year as we have seen a real resurgence in demand for the traditional summer sun destinations. Spain, Greece and Turkey were countries hit particularly badly by the 2009 recession. Their continued recovery is clear to see in the numbers, with average rates in many Mediterranean resorts growing well above the norms for the region.

In a similar vein, we can see a very strong pick-up in demand for Europeans again traveling to Morocco and Tunisia. These countries were obviously impacted by the Arab Spring from late 2010, but during 2013 we have seen some double-digit rises in average prices paid, indicating a significant return of customer confidence.

While demand to longer haul regions such as Latin America and the Far East remains relatively sluggish, Europeans do seem to be venturing more towards “mid-haul” destinations, such as the Middle East. This year’s Index reveals a clear pattern of higher room rates paid and hence strong demand to both the UAE and Saudi Arabia.

Overall, therefore, the outlook for travel in Europe during 2014 looks increasingly buoyant. Economic indicators from the key countries are positive and we expect Europeans to be venturing further afield and in greater numbers in the year ahead.

HPI half-yearly breakdown for Europe and the Middle East from H1 2004 to H2 2013

fig5

Europe and the Middle East saw stronger year end

  • The HPI for Europe and the Middle East for 2013 grew by 2%, compared to 2012, the slowest growth of all the regions. However, the second half of the year showed a stronger upward trend when judged against the 1% rise recorded over the first six months.
  • Following this rise, the 2013 HPI for Europe and the Middle East reached 104, the lowest of all the regions and a full 27 Index points behind the Caribbean.
  • This was only four index points above where it stood in 2004 at the launch of the HPI, still three points behind its 2006 level and 12 points behind its 2007 peak of 116.
Abhiram Chowdhry
Vice President APAC
of the Hotels.com brand
Abhiram Chowdhry

Across Asia, hotel prices were a mixed bag with APAC being the only region globally to record a fall of 2% in 2013 compared with the previous year. The Asia HPI stood at 106 in 2013, a level not seen since 2009, signaling good news if you are traveler looking for value across Asian destinations. The instability in prices in the Asian market was to be expected as major currencies across the region slipped, with the Japanese Yen, Indian Rupee and the Indonesian Rupiah witnessing the harshest of falls. While the fall in local currencies does mean that the region is cheaper for inbound travelers it also makes it much harder for some customers wanting to travel intra-APAC. The good news is the currencies seem to have stabilized for now at least.

Also behind the varied picture in Asia were a number of events that put pressure on hotel prices including the recent political protests in Thailand, the natural calamity that struck Uttarakhand, in North India, the political tensions between Japan and China and the typhoons that unfortunately hit parts of South East Asia particularly the Philippines. On the other hand, the region continues on the path of economic recovery and this helped to balance some of the declines to in most regions analyzed.

There continues to be a longer term trend of more travelers traveling around the region. An effect of this is in evidence in Taiwan as it continues to see the increasing trend in visitor numbers and tourism, particularly from Chinese Customers. The total amount of inbound visitors to Taiwan in 2013 had reached more than 8 million arrivals, an increase of 9.4% in comparison to 2012.

On the other hand, the Pacific showed a different picture. With the mining and natural resources boom in Australia, having said to reach its peak, hotel prices in the region showed a decline in 2013 in several of the big markets. Even though Australia and New Zealand have benefited from a growing number of Chinese travelers, which is now really turning into the region’s biggest source market, this effect was not enough to offset the overall downward movement. This coupled with the lower Australian dollar means that Australia is a particularly good destination for travelers from all over Asia going into 2014.

Given the increase in low cost carriers across the region in the latter part of 2013 and onwards, hotel prices and occupancy rates in Asia will likely witness a modest upward trajectory in 2014. As usual though, discounts and deals will continue to be the region’s drawcard with value for money to be found in popular destinations.

Overall hotel prices in Asia Pacific continue to offer good value for customers while certainly showing signs of growth in demand driven by the newly mobile Asia Pacific traveler.

HPI half-yearly breakdown for Asia and the Pacific from H1 2004 to H2 2013

fig6

Pacific remained stable

  • The Pacific region recorded no change in its HPI during 2013 when compared to 2012, continuing the declining trend of the last four years which had seen increases of 10% in 2010, 8% in 2011 and 4% in 2012.
  • The result also meant that there was a slight falling away during the year itself as the first six months showed a 1% increase.
  • The Pacific HPI for 2013 remained at 123, still the third highest of the regions behind the Caribbean and Latin America and four index points behind its peak of 127 established in 2007.

Different picture in Asia

  • Hotel prices in Asia fell by 2% in 2013, compared with 2012, the only region to record a fall.
  • The Asia HPI stood at 106 for 2013, the second lowest region ahead of Europe and the Middle East and still behind its 2005 level of 110.
  • This regional Index saw a rapid rise from 2004 to reach its 2007 peak of 131 but results since 2009 have been inconsistent and overall the HPI has lost 24 points over the last six years.

HPI half-yearly breakdown by region from H1 2004 to H2 2013

fig7

chapter2-1

Price Changes in Global Destinations for Americans

The following sections reflect the actual prices paid by travelers per night from the U.S. in U.S. Dollars ($) during 2013 compared to prices paid in U.S. Dollars during 2012.

Countries Where U.S. Travelers Paid the Most

Maldives has long been one of the most luxurious destinations in the world with over 40 five-star properties spread across the nation’s 1,200 islands. On average, U.S. travelers paid more for a room night in Maldives than in any other country in 2013, although the island nation in the Indian Ocean did see an 8% drop in average daily rates ($532) paid by U.S. travelers compared to 2012.

The Caribbean island nations of Anguilla ($494) and Bahamas ($295) also saw some of the highest average daily rates globally, as travelers paid 18% and 9% more year over year, respectively. Kazakhstan ($276) saw one of the biggest overall price spikes, with average daily rates increasing by 24% over 2012. Astana, the country’s capital, is undergoing significant development as it prepares to host Expo 2017 and has even been called the “Dubai of Central Asia.”

Countries Where U.S. Travelers Paid the Most

Country

2013

2012

YoY

1. Maldives

$532

$580

-8%

2. Anguilla

$494

$418

18%

3. French Polynesia

$440

$426

3%

4. Seychelles

$434

$385

13%

5. Turks and Caicos Islands

$399

$390

2%

6. Monaco

$353

$326

9%

7. Bermuda

$342

$332

3%

8. Cayman Islands

$320

$280

9%

9. Antigua and Barbuda

$312

$266

17%

10. Bahamas

$295

$271

9%

11. St. Lucia

$291

$260

12%

12. Kazakhstan

$276

$223

24%

13. Mauritius

$273

$267

2%

14. = St. Martin

$269

$267

1%

14. = Nigeria

$269

$262

2%

16. Aruba

$267

$265

1%

17. Cook Islands

$255

$247

3%

18. U.S. Virgin Islands

$238

$225

6%

19. = Saudi Arabia

$234

$231

1%

19. = St. Kitts & Nevis

$234

$199

17%

= (equals) denotes tie based on 2013 average prices

Cities Where U.S. Travelers Paid the Most

Maui, Hawaii

2.1-beach-shoreline-Maui
In addition to having one of the highest average daily rates as a country, French Polynesia is also home to the paradise city of Bora Bora. U.S. travelers paid an average daily rate of $770 to stay in Bora Bora’s exquisite resorts – more than any other city in the world. Closer to French Polynesia’s main island of Tahiti, the city of Moorea also saw some of the highest prices paid globally ($395).In the U.S., travelers paid the most for stays in Hawaii’s Wailea-Maui ($437) and in a number of unexpected cities across the country. Travelers paid some of the highest average daily rates in California, as five cities across the state saw prices of $350 or more, led by Newport Coast ($427) and Rancho Palos Verdes ($410).

Cities Where U.S. Travelers Paid the Most

City

Country

2013

2012

YoY

1. Bora Bora French Polynesia $770 $767

0%

2. Soufriere St. Lucia $464 $463

0%

3. Mahe Seychelles $443 $367

21%

4. Wailea (Maui), HI U.S. $437 $439

0%

5. Newport Coast, CA U.S. $427 $394

8%

6. St. John U.S. Virgin Islands $422 $351

20%

7. Rancho Palos Verdes, CA U.S. $410 $397

3%

8. Oahu, HI U.S. $407 $358

14%

9. Paradise Island Bahamas $406 $388

5%

10. Hamilton Bermuda $404 $370

9%

11. Providenciales Turks and Caicos Islands $402 $388

4%

12. Moorea French Polynesia $395 $444

-11%

13. Southampton Bermuda $387 $350

11%

14. Yountville, CA U.S. $379 $383

-1%

15. St. Helena, CA U.S. $369 $341

8%

16. Sausalito, CA U.S. $367 $355

4%

17. Monte Carlo Monaco $353 $326

9%

18. Baru Island Colombia $351 $295

19%

19. Seven Mile Beach Cayman Islands $340 $295

15%

20. Koloa, HI U.S. $338 $323

5%


Price Drops in Popular International Cities

Panama City, Florida
2.2-Old-and-traditional-yatch-club-Panama-City
Rio de Janeiro ($267) previously had the highest price amongst the 50 Most Popular International Cities for Americans (available in Chapter 3), but the city saw average daily rates dip by 4% as Brazil’s currency dropped in relation to the U.S. Dollar. However, Rio de Janeiro and Brazil’s other major destinations are expected to see price increases as the 2014 World Cup approaches.Several other 50 Most Popular International Cities for Americans in Latin America also saw significant price drops, including Buenos Aires (#34; -6%), Panama City (#35; -11%) and Bogota (#38; -10%). The largest decrease in average daily rates took place in Seoul, which saw prices drop 13% to $153. Amongst the Top 10, cities such as Tokyo (#6), Hong Kong (#7) and Montreal (#8) all saw slight price dips of 2%.

Price Drops Among the Most Popular International Cities for Americans

City

Country 2013 2012 YoY
1. Seoul South Korea $153 $176 -13%
2. Panama City Panama $121 $135 -11%
3. Bogota Colombia $124 $137 -10%
4. Buenos Aires Argentina $118 $125 -6%
5. = Rio de Janeiro Brazil $267 $279 -4%
5. = Madrid Spain $130 $136 -4%
7. = Santo Domingo Dominican Republic $113 $117 -3%
7. = Vienna Austria $155 $160 -3%
7. = Niagara Falls Canada $152 $156 -3%
10.=  Montreal Canada $166 $170 -2%
10. = Tokyo Japan $167 $171 -2%
10. = Hong Kong Hong Kong $196 $200 -2%
10. = Calgary Canada $181 $184

-2%

= (equals) denotes tie based on year-over-year average price change

[1] www.ibtimes.com/brazilian-real-drops-17-percent-vs-dollar-2013-investor-confidence-brazilian-economy-sags-1392037

Price Increases in Popular International Cities

Riviera Maya, Mexico
2.3-tropical-boats-Riviera Maya
Mexico’s tourism industry continued to rebound in 2013, causing a number of destinations to rise both in popularity and average rates. Cancun, a long-time top spring break destination, saw the largest spike in average daily rates among the 50 Most Popular International Cities for Americans (available in Chapter 3), with prices jumping 16% to $221. Riviera Maya, Los Cabos, Mexico City and Vallarta also all saw price increases of 5% or more.Thailand also saw a surge in tourism in 2013. Travelers paid 8% more for hotels in Bangkok and Phuket, as these cities climbed to the 11th and 43rd most popular foreign destination for Americans. With an average daily rate of $103, however, Bangkok remained the most affordable city among the 50 Most Popular International Cities for Americans.

Price Increases Among the Most Popular International Cities for Americans

City Country 2013 2012 YoY
1. Cancun Mexico $221 $191 16%
2. Riviera Maya Mexico $226 $208 9%
3. Dublin Ireland $146 $134 8%
3. Bangkok Thailand $103 $95 8%
3. = Phuket Thailand $150 $139 8%
6. = Dubai United Arab Emirates $217 $202 7%
6. = Frankfurt Germany $172 $161 7%
6. = Amsterdam Netherlands $197 $184 7%
9.=  Los Cabos Mexico $240 $225 6%
9.=  Mexico City Mexico $127 $120 6%
11. Vallarta Mexico $168 $160 5%
11. = Venice Italy $236 $225 5%
11. = Shanghai China $133 $127 5%
11. = Florence Italy $198 $189 5%

= (equals) denotes tie based on year-over-year average price change

chapter3-1

Americans’ Travel Habits

The following sections reflect the popularity of cities based on actual bookings by U.S. travelers and the actual prices paid by travelers per night from the U.S. in U.S. Dollars ($) during 2013.

Most Popular Domestic and International Cities for Americans

Charlotte, North Carolina
4.3-charlotte-north-carolina-increased-in-domestic-destinations

Americans continued to flock to the grand casinos of Las Vegas, the Broadway lights of New York City and to the appeal of Disney in Orlando, however, new interest has piqued for North Carolina destinations.Charlotte, NC (#29) could very well break into the 20 Most Popular Domestic Cities for Americans list in the coming year as it increased five spots in ranking among the 50 Most Popular Domestic Cities for Americans. The city will continue to grow as an attractive locale with the filming of the Emmy®-winning TV series “Homeland” and the introduction of the third largest NASCAR Hall of Fame exhibit, “Lights. Camera. NASCAR.” Raleigh, NC soared four spots to become the 34th most popular destination. With a $60 million renovation project set for completion in March 2014 at its international airport and numerous cultural and sporting infrastructural developments in the pipeline, the city will no doubt remain a formidable contender in the popular destinations arena.


[1] www.visitraleigh.com/about-greater-raleigh/new-developments

50 Most Popular Domestic Cities for Americans

City, State 2013 City, State 2013
1. Las Vegas, NV $108 26. Atlantic City, NJ $136
2. New York City, NY $267 27. Reno, NV $83
3. Orlando, FL $98 28. Detroit, MI $112
4. Los Angeles, CA $154 29. Charlotte, NC $110
5. San Diego, CA $136 30. Baltimore, MD $130
6. Chicago, IL $161 31. Phoenix, AZ $103
7. San Francisco, CA $198 32. Indianapolis, IN $118
8. Washington, DC $156 33. Kansas City, MO $109
9. Houston, TX $126 34. Raleigh, NC $99
10. San Antonio, TX $119 35. Honolulu, HI $207
11. Atlanta, GA $116 36. Newark, NJ $148
12. Boston, MA $190 37. Jacksonville, FL $88
13. New Orleans, LA $173 38. Salt Lake City, UT $105
14. Miami, FL $189 39. Columbus, OH $108
15. Dallas, TX $120 40. Scottsdale, AZ $129
16. Austin, TX $143 41. Arlington, VA $134
17. Denver, CO $124 42. Savannah, GA $123
18. Philadelphia, PA $148 43. Lake Buena Vista, FL $177
19. Seattle, WA $164 44. Albuquerque, NM $88
20. Anaheim, CA $133 45. Oklahoma City, OK $97
21. Nashville, TN $142 46. Pigeon Forge, TN $94
22. Portland, OR $126 47. Charleston, SC $157
23. Fort Lauderdale, FL $140 48. Pittsburgh, PA $143
24. Myrtle Beach, SC $131 49. Virginia Beach, VA $144
25. Tampa, FL $103 50. Sacramento, CA $103

 

Toronto, CA
Restaurants with sidewalk patios in the Entertainment District on a summer night in Toronto Ontario Canada. Image shot 07/2008. Exact date unknown.

Internationally, while London and Paris continue to dominate the list of most popular foreign destinations, several cities saw a significant boost in American tourism in 2013. Toronto surpassed Rome as the third most popular international destination for the first time since 2010. With the Canadian exchange at a three-year low, now is an opportune time for U.S. travelers to cross the border and explore the country’s cultural and entertainment capital.On the other side of the world, Dubai commanded the industry’s attention with its world-class facilities, 16 new hotel openings, expansion of new routes being offered by Emirates Airline and the opening of the Dubai World Central airport. Major concerts and sporting events such as the Dubai World Cup and pop sensation, Justin Bieber’s first concert in the Middle East have also helped Dubai usurp Madrid, Florence and Venice as the 14th most popular destination. Other Asia-Pacific destinations that experienced a surge in American tourism in 2013 include Tokyo (#6), Hong Kong (#7) and Bangkok (#11).

50 Most Popular International Cities for Americans

City Country 2013 City Country 2013
1. London United Kingdom $245 26. Seoul South Korea $153
2. Paris France $239 27. Prague Czech Republic $138
3. Toronto Canada $153 28. Beijing China $129
4. Rome Italy $196 29. Riviera Maya Mexico $226
5.Vancouver Canada $164 30. Los Cabos Mexico $240
6.Tokyo Japan $167 31. Vienna Austria $155
7. Hong Kong Hong Kong $196 32. Carolina Puerto Rico $198
8. Montreal Canada $166 33. Sydney Australia $204
9. Barcelona Spain $183 34. Buenos Aires Argentina $118
10. Niagara Falls Canada $152 35. Panama City Panama $121
11.Bangkok Thailand $103 36. Milan Italy $191
12. Amsterdam Netherlands $197 37. Copenhagen Denmark $190
13. San Juan Puerto Rico $182 38. Bogota Colombia $124
14. Dubai United Arab Emirates $217 39. Rio de Janeiro Brazil $267
15. Madrid Spain $130 40. Athens Greece $126
16. Florence Italy $198 41. Frankfurt Germany $172
17. Mexico City Mexico $127 42. Sao Paulo Brazil $192
18. Venice Italy $236 43. Phuket Thailand $150
19. Dublin Ireland $146 44. Punta Cana Dominican Republic $271
20. Singapore Singapore $212 45. Calgary Canada $181
21. Istanbul Turkey $160 46. Taipei Taiwan $151
22. Shanghai China $133 47. Vallarta Mexico $168
23.Cancun Mexico $221 48. Budapest Hungary $122
24. Berlin Germany $133 49. Edinburgh United Kingdom $188
25. Munich Germany $191 50. Santo Domingo Dominican Republic $113

 

A Look at Top Domestic Market Areas for U.S. Travelers
The following sections reflect the actual prices U.S. travelers paid per night across the country’s 210 Designated Market Areas (DMAs) in U.S. Dollars ($) during 2013 compared to prices paid in U.S. Dollars during 2012.

San Francisco, CA
Fisherman's Wharf, San Francisco, CA

Honolulu upheld its lead over New York City as the market where U.S. travelers paid the most for hotel rooms. Thanks to more than 10.8 million air seats, the Hawaii Tourism Authority announced a record number of visitors in 2013, which totaled 8.2 million. This boom in tourism is reflected in the hotel prices, which increased 9% from $209 in 2012 to $227 in 2013. As the destination works to lure throngs of travelers from Asia with new airline partnerships, Honolulu, will continue to experience growth and is likely to remain a frontrunner in this category.

The oldest and second largest city in South Carolina, Charleston, hurdled over seven markets to rank 11th. The city’s Southern charm, gracious residents and well-preserved architecture are just a few reasons why it has remained a favorite Southern destination.


[1] www.businessweek.com/ap/2014-01-30/hawaii-tourism-breaks-visitor-record-in-2013
[2] http://skift.com/2013/09/14/honolulu-will-soon-have-three-carriers-flying-non-stop-between-bejing

Markets Where U.S. Travelers Paid the Most

DMA Name

2013

2012

YoY

1. Honolulu, HI $227 $209 9%
2. New York City, NY $222 $217 2%
3. Boston, MA $180 $175 2%
4. San Francisco, CA $170 $159 7%
5. Miami-Ft. Lauderdale, FL $168 $159 6%
6. = Salisbury, MD $166 $167 -1%
6. = New Orleans, LA $166 $156 6%
8. Santa Barbara, CA $159 $156 2%
9. = Idaho Falls, ID $153 $146 5%
9. = Monterey, CA $153 $148 3%
11. = Charleston, SC $152 $155 -1%
11. = Panama City, FL $152 $150 1%
13. Chicago, IL $148 $148 0%
14. Odessa – Midland, TX $147 $144 2%
15. Anchorage, AK $144 $141 3%
16. Burlington, VT $143 $138 3%
17. Providence, RI $142 $140 1%
18. = Washington, DC $141 $144 -2%
18. = Juneau, AK $141 $132 7%
20. Austin, TX $139 $135 3%

= (equals) denotes tie based on 2013 average prices

Best-Value Domestic Market Areas for U.S. Travelers in 2013

Gulf Coast, Texas
4.2-gulf-coast-texas-top-20

Getting more value for the dollar may mean exploring the less-traveled territories. For those looking to vacation more but spend less, markets like Macon, GA and Huntsville, AL are affordable alternatives to the hefty price tags of the bigger markets.On the heels of Texas Tourism’s new commercials in 2013 that highlight the state’s vibrant music scene and a childhood-inspired cowboy lifestyle that becomes a reality, six Texas markets made the list of Top 20 Domestic Market Areas where U.S. travelers found the best values in 2013. From the grandeur of the Old West, to the sandy beaches of the Gulf Coast, rooms were priced as low as $85 in 2013, leaving more than enough to explore the state’s diverse culture and landscape.


[1] http://skift.com/2013/04/03/video-texas-tourism-pushes-country-music-and-cowboys-in-new-ad-campaign

Markets Where U.S. Travelers Paid the Least

DMA Name 2013 2012 YoY
1. Macon, GA $76 $75 1%
2. = Yuma, AZ $78 $77 1%
2. = Dothan, AL $78 $79 -1%
4. Albany, GA $80 $79 1%
5. = Joplin, MO $82 $81 1%
5. = Jonesboro, AR $82 $80 2%
5. = Jackson, TN $82 $77 7%
8. = Wichita Falls, TX & Lawton, OK $83 $81 2%
8. = Ottumwa, IA $83 $80 4%
8. = Grand Junction, CO $83 $85 -3%
11. = Hattiesburg, MS $85 $85 0%
11. = Bakersfield, CA $85 $81 5%
11. = Beaumont, TX $85 $84 1%
14. = Montgomery, AL $86 $84 3%
14. = Huntsville, AL $86 $87 0%
14. = Bowling Green, OH $86 $87 0%
17. Shreveport, LA $87 $88 -2%
18. = Terre Haute, IN $88 $87 0%
18. = Tyler- Longview, TX $88 $88 0%
18. = El Paso (Las Cruces), TX $88 $87 1%

= (equals) denotes tie based on 2013 average prices

chapter4

The Price of Luxury
The following sections reflect the actual prices paid by travelers per night from the U.S. in U.S. Dollars ($) during 2013.

Luxury Trends

Paris, France
7.1-Eiffel-Tower-Paris

Luxury travel’s most important component is accommodation and the top two places in the world where travelers spent the most on five-star accommodations? Hotels.com research shows they are two cities representing the West and East coasts of the U.S. – San Francisco and New York City.The average price of a five-star hotel in San Francisco dropped 3% over the past year, but the average price of a hotel there rose 7%. Clearly growing in popularity, San Francisco’s proximity to the Giant Redwoods and wineries of Napa Valley makes it a well-rounded getaway. Expected to grow even more in the luxury sector in 2014, San Francisco is expecting its first new luxury hotel in six years.

Notably, each of the 10 Cities Where U.S. Travelers Paid the Most for Five-Star Hotels is on the lists of Most Popular International and Domestic Cities for Americans (Chapter 3), not including Geneva, Switzerland. Geneva was beat out by nearby locations such as Paris, France and Milan, Italy.

Rio de Janeiro’s average five-star hotel price decreased 14% since 2012, taking it from the number one spot, to the number four spot. With the FIFA World Cup taking place in Rio in June, it is possible that Rio will be back at the top of the list by the end of 2014.

10 Cities Where U.S. Travelers Paid the Most for Five-Star Hotels

City

Country

2013

1. San Francisco U.S. $562
2. New York City U.S. $550
3. Paris France $504
4. Rio de Janeiro Brazil $497
5. Tokyo Japan $490
6. Toronto Canada $480
7. Venice Italy $475
8. Los Angeles U.S. $469
9. Sao Paulo Brazil $450
10. Geneva Switzerland $447

 

Best Five-Star Values

Warsaw, Poland
7.2-old-town-marketplace-sqaure-Warsaw

Many popular European destinations offer some of the best values in the world. Warsaw is the reigning champion of best five-star values. The question is — what does the capital of Poland have to offer its five-star visitors? When staying at the Polonia Palace Hotel, visitors can feel like royalty by exploring the Royal Route, a passage featuring numerous palaces in close proximity to the hotel’s location. One Hotels.com reviewer noted, “The hotel maintains its old-world refinement and elegance easily but not stuffily.” Another reviewer states, “Regal hotel, lovely service, wonderful environment…sumptuous breakfast.”Brussels, Budapest and Berlin, other European locations highlighted in the Best Five-Star Values in the World for U.S. Travelers list, also made the list of 50 Most Popular International Cities for Americans (Chapter 3). Notably, Berlin is not only a great place to get the most bang for your buck, but the 24th most popular place to travel oversees for Americans. It is an attractive location, a cultural capital, boasting a variety of art museums, theatre, film festivals and musical entertainment.

Best Five-Star Values in the World for U.S. Travelers

City

Country

2013

1. Warsaw Poland $124
2. Mumbai India $177
3. Cairo Egypt $183
3. Delhi India $183
5. Tallinn Estonia $185
6. Lisbon Portugal $191
7. Brussels Belgium $195
8. Budapest Hungary $196
9. Berlin Germany $201
10. Marrakech Morocco $215

 

Best Value for $135

Madrid, Spain
7.3-Madrid-Plaza-Madrid
Bangkok, Beijing and Shanghai are a few of the Asian cities on the Best Values list that are also part of the 50 Most Popular International Cities for Americans (Chapter 3). The region itself decreased by 2% overall this year, and is now not only a popular location to visit, but budget-friendly as well. According to the Hotels.com Chinese International Travel Monitor, the country of China plans to build 70 new airports by 2015, creating opportunity for an influx of visitors. Las Vegas, the only U.S. city on the Best Values in the World for U.S. Travelers list, happens to be the second favorite city for international travelers, and the favorite city for Americans.

Best Values in the World for U.S. Travelers: $135 or Less

City

Country

Star Rating

2013

1. Warsaw Poland

5

$124
2. Warsaw Poland

4

$106
3. Budapest Hungary

4

$109
4. Bangkok Thailand

4

$112
5. Marrakech Morocco

4

$115
6. Delhi India

4

$120
7. Madrid Spain

4

$123
8. Las Vegas U.S.

4

$124
8. Prague Czech Republic

4

$124
10. Beijing China

4

$126
11. = Mumbai India

4

$127
11.=  Lisbon Portugal

4

$127
11. = Jakarta Indonesia

4

$127
14. Shanghai China

4

$128
15. = Cairo Egypt

4

$129
15. = Pisa Italy

4

$129
15. = Tallinn Estonia

4

$129
18. Berlin Germany

4

$131
19.= Cape Town South Africa

4

$135
19.= Vienna Austria

4

$135

= (equals) denotes tie based on 2013 average prices

Each country has its own star ratings system, and in some cases, more than one. This means travelers should be aware of a possible disparity of standards and facilities when booking rooms with the same star ratings in different countries. The Hotels.com verified Guest Reviews are useful for researching hotels.

chapter5

International Travel Habits

This section reflects the popularity of U.S. cities based on actual bookings by all travelers and the actual prices paid by travelers to the U.S. per night in 2013 as compared to 2012, shown in U.S. Dollars ($).

Most Popular U.S. Cities for Foreign Travelers

Central Park – New York, NY
6.3-central-park-new-york-top-destination-for-foreign-travelers

Once again, New York, Las Vegas and Orlando take gold, silver and bronze as the Most Popular U.S. Cities for Foreign Travelers. These cities already possess many tourist attractions that entice foreigners to come for a visit – such as the beautiful Central Park, inviting casinos or the magical world of Disney – but the cities are not leaving anything to chance; they are also investing millions of dollars to ensure they stay on top of the list. New York, for example, awarded more than $83 million in economic development grants[1] to fund tourism-related projects across the state, according to the Empire State Development. Similar initiatives are taking place in the other two cities as well, so they will likely continue to maintain their positions as Most Popular U.S. Cities for Foreigner Travelers.Nevertheless, the list did leave some room for some scrambling in the order, with Texan cities Houston and San Antonio swapping places. The Alamo City was knocked down to #18 and Houston bumped two spots up to #16. These were the only two of four Texas cities in the Most Popular Domestic Cities for Americans (Chapter 3) that continue to attract both U.S. and international travelers in droves.


[1] http://empirestatedevelopment.tumblr.com/post/70928415788/new-york-state-and-esd-supporting-the-tourism-industry

Most Popular U.S. Cities for Foreign Travelers

City, State

2013

1. New York, NY $269
2. Las Vegas, NV $111
3. Orlando, FL $100
4. Miami, FL $192
5. Los Angeles, CA $158
6. San Francisco, CA $200
7. Honolulu, HI $231
8. San Diego, CA $138
9. Chicago, IL $164
10. Washington, DC $159
11. Boston, MA $193
12. Fort Lauderdale, FL $144
13. Seattle, WA $165
14. Newark, NJ $150
15. Anaheim, CA $136
16. Houston, TX $127
17. Lake Buena Vista, FL $179
18. San Antonio, TX $120
19. New Orleans, LA $173
20. Hollywood, CA $212

Top International Spenders for U.S. Hotel Rooms

This section looks at the average price paid for a hotel room in the U.S. by visiting nationality, shown in U.S. Dollars ($).

Norway
6.1-norway-top-spender

The International Trade Administration registered nearly $57.9 billion spent in travel and tourism-related services by international visitors in the first four months of 2013, growing by 8% in comparison to the same period in the previous year.The Scandinavian countries of Norway and Sweden notched the top spots in the Top International Spenders list as the countries that pay the most for U.S. hotel rooms. Argentineans increased their spending per room by 10% – one of three double digit increases – jumping seven spots in 2013 to come in at #11 on the Top Spenders list.

Likewise, Thailand and Hong Kong also showed a large increase of 12% and 10% respectively.

Top International Spenders for U.S. Hotel Rooms 

Country/Region

2013

2012

YoY

1. Norway

$216

$203

6%

2. South Africa

$206

$206

0%

3. Sweden

$204

$190

8%

4. = Japan

$203

$210

-3%

4. = Indonesia

$203

$195

4%

6. Australia

$202

$197

2%

7. = Ireland

$196

$187

5%

7. = Greece

$196

$193

2%

9. Chile

$195

$182

7%

10. Switzerland

$190

$185

2%

11. Argentina

$188

$170

10%

12. = United Kingdom

$185

$179

3%

12. = Portugal

$185

$171

8%

12. = Turkey

$185

$175

6%

15. = Finland

$184

$180

3%

15. = Hong Kong

$184

$167

10%

17. = Russia

$182

$183

0%

17. = Israel

$182

$172

6%

19. Italy

$180

$169

7%

20. Singapore

$179

$169

6%

21. = Paraguay

$178

$182

-2%

21. = Middle East

$178

$175

2%

23. = Thailand

$177

$158

12%

23. = Ukraine

$177

$167

5%

25. Denmark

$176

$165

6%

= (equals) denotes tie based on 2013 average prices

chapter6

Prices Paid at Home and Away

Traveling Abroad

U.S. travelers ranked second in average prices paid for hotel accommodations by different nationalities when traveling internationally at $174 per night, just edging out Norway at $173 per night.Travelers from Switzerland once again paid the most when traveling internationally at an average of $182 per night. Argentineans were the highest spending Latin Americans at $170 on average for room nights. Japan, the highest paying nation from APAC, and British travelers also paid $170 per night.Malaysian travelers were the most cost-conscious with an average spend of $129 away, followed closely by the Taiwanese at $131 and the Dutch at $135 per room night.

Traveling at Home

India
6.2-india-spend-60-dollars-more-per-night

Americans traveling domestically spend an average of $43 per night less than when traveling internationally with a total of $131 per night.It was Swiss travelers who again paid the most at home, averaging $212 for a night domestically, followed by Norway in second place at $186 and Singapore in third at $184. European nations dominated the top of the chart once again, taking six of the top 10 places.At the other end of the table, those looking for the best value at home were travelers from Thailand at $88, closely followed by those from Malaysia at $89 and from India at $90 a night.

More at Home or Away?

Of the 32 countries analyzed, 24 paid more abroad than at home with some having a significant gap between the home and away prices. The Argentineans spent $66 a night more on average when traveling abroad, followed by travelers from Thailand with a $62 difference, from India with a $60 difference and from China with a $59 variation.Only seven nations paid more at home than away with travelers from Singapore once again with the greatest difference, spending $41 more domestically than abroad. The Swiss followed with a $30 variation and the Norwegians at $13 difference.

Prices Paid by Travelers Internationally vs. Domestically

Country/Region

Away

Home

Switzerland

$182

$212

United States of America

$174

$131

Norway

$173

$186

Japan

$170

$113

Argentina

$170

$104

United Kingdom

$170

$138

Brazil

$168

$134

China

$168

$109

Australia

$167

$168

Sweden

$166

$167

Russia

$162

$150

New Zealand

$159

$114

Denmark

$155

$160

Colombia

$154

$132

Austria

$153

$121

Ireland

$151

$114

India

$150

$90

Thailand

$150

$88

Canada

$148

$141

Mexico

$147

$122

South Korea

$145

$140

Portugal

$145

$94

Singapore

$142

$184

Italy

$142

$116

Hong Kong

$141

$147

Finland

$140

$140

France

$139

$108

Germany

$137

$116

Spain

$137

$98

Netherlands

$135

$124

Taiwan

$131

$112

Malaysia

$129

$89

chapter7

Wanderlust

This section offers destination recommendations based on passions like food, art, adventure and shopping, and highlights the actual prices paid by U.S. travelers per night for hotel rooms in U.S. Dollars ($) in these cities.

Cure Your Wanderlust

There are infinite wonders to see and countless experiences to be had in the U.S. – our own backyard – and all over the world. With this overwhelming amount of choices, sometimes the best place to start when deciding where in the world to go is to follow your passion. Over the years, Hotels.com has given you the best in hotel rates by city and country, top destinations to travel around the world and places where you can get the most “bang for your buck.” Here, Hotels.com takes it a step further and recommends the best cities to go based on your interests. You will Cure Your Wanderlust by discovering the best destinations for cuisine, art and design, shopping, health and wellness, adventure and music. Now all you have to do is get up and go…

Cuisine

Most Michelin Three-Star Restaurants 2013

City Country Michelin Three-Star Restaurants
Tokyo Japan 14
Paris France 10
New York City, NY U.S. 7
Paris, France
tables on the street, french restaurant - Paris, France
Cuisine is the impetus of many travel plans. This year, our top three foodie cities are Tokyo, Paris and New York – places with not only the most Michelin three-star restaurants (the best of the best), but plenty of markets and affordable local fare through the cities’ varied cultural districts. Our number one destination Tokyo isn’t just filled with expensive gourmet restaurants, it’s also home to fresh fish markets and famous local fare.

Tokyo, Japan: $167

High-end: Jiro Ono, of the documentary, “Jiro Dreams of Sushi,” owns Sukiyabashi Jiro, a one-of-a-kind Michelin three-star restaurant in an underground subway station. The restaurant seats a select few and reservations must be planned months in advance, but this restaurant is home to what has been called the best sushi in the world by the likes of Anthony Bourdain. Local: The Tsukiji fish market is not only a staple in the lives of Japanese locals, but is renowned amongst international travelers. The biggest seafood market in the world, it also produces some of the best variety of fish for the best sushi restaurants. Food Festival: At the Tokyo Food Festival[1], visitors can sample their way through the local flavors of the country including dandan noodles, miso soup and sake.

[1] http://noramennolife.wordpress.com/2013/11/07/tokyo-food-festival

Paris, France: $239

High-end: The Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athénée is one of the most famous of the Michelin three-star restaurants. Right off the Champs Elysées, the restaurant is not only an experience of flavors, but one of setting and location. Start off with a touch of caviar, and be taken away into a Parisian fantasy.Local: There’s nothing like a hot crepe right off the streets of Paris. Filled with sweet Nutella or savory goat cheese, visitors and locals alike flock to creperies all over the city. The likes of Crêperie Bretonne Fleurie see hungry customers for breakfast, lunch, dinner or simply a mid-day snack.

Food festival: Paris celebrates the annual Jour du Macaron in March to celebrate macarons and raise money for charity. Only Paris would celebrate a delectable cookie – and we’re all for it!

New York City, NY, U.S.A.: $267

High-end: Michelin three-star restaurant, Le Bernardin screams “New York.” A midtown favorite, this restaurant gives that old New York City vibe with steaks, oysters on the half shell and caviar, but brings it to the next level with contemporary flavors.Local: You can’t find a bad slice of pizza in New York City, or neighboring Brooklyn. Thin sliced, cheesy and lightly sauced, sometimes a slice can be as low as $1.

Food festival: In October, New York City will host the New York City Wine & Food Festival. Visitors can join the likes of Mario Batali and other renowned Iron Chefs for a weekend to remember.

Art & Design

Washington, DC, U.S.
5.2.3-art-washington-DC-most-museums-US
Some of the most attractive destinations in the world gain their appeal from the exquisite design, art and architecture that they display. Nothing compares to seeing a painting, sculpture or magnificent building in person. The following cities are a few of the best art and design destinations worth discovering firsthand.

London, UK: $245

London boasts the most museums in the world – and some of the most popular. The British Museum, for example, is one of the oldest museums in the world, with some of the oldest artifacts such as the original Rosetta Stone, dating back to 196 B.C. Places like the Tower of London are historical artifacts of their own. Throughout the years this historical castle has served as an armory, a treasury, a mint, a public records office and home of the Crown Jewels of the United Kingdom. Today it is protected as a World Heritage Site and is open and available to the public. London is not only gracious in its efforts to preserve historical objects and buildings, but is keen to share this history, making everything it can accessible to the public.

Mexico City, Mexico: $127

Second only to London in amount of museums, this city is full of culture everywhere you turn. Mexico City made a significant stride in popularity rankings this year, jumping into the Top 20 as the 17th most popular destination (from 21st) for Americans. Its majestic art and design scene may be bringing it up the rankings with help from its new tourism campaign, “Live it to believe it.”[1] From art museums like the Frida Kahlo Museum, Museo de Bellas Artes and Museo de Arte Popular, to architectural giants such as the Pyramids of Teotihuacan, Mexico City is immersed in art and architectural prowess.

Washington, D.C., U.S.: $156

The U.S. capital is home to more than half of the most visited museums in the United States, and most of them are free of charge. The National Gallery of Art and its Sculpture Garden include the only Leonardo da Vinci painting on the continent as well as American art through the present day. With access to so much history, D.C. is able to create museums specific to certain relics. The Smithsonian’s National Air & Space museum includes aerial artifacts from World War I to Apollo 11. A hidden gem, the National Postal Museum traces history through stamps; a letter sent from the Silk Road in the 1300s, a note distributed from the Titanic’s first and only voyage and even a lunar mail cover postmarked from the moon in 1971. The museum is a philatelist’s dream, and now features the largest stamp gallery in the world.

Shopping

Bangkok, Thailand
5.3.3-shopping-bangkok-market-scene
People who love to shop are always looking for the next hidden gem when it comes to retail therapy destinations. To satisfy the shopaholic in everyone, below are a few destinations that boast some of the world’s most unique shopping market experiences.

Philadelphia, PA, U.S.: $148

There are so many designer boutiques, jewelers and upscale clothing shops in Philly – thank goodness clothing tax is nonexistent here!  Head to the fabulous Philadelphia Designers Market, where local fashion designers sell their work at affordable prices. It’s a great place to start your shopping spree and find a trinket that can be found nowhere else in the world. Jewelers’ Row is another famous hotspot in Philly, with diamonds galore, this could be a place to pick up an engagement ring, or just window shop with friends.

La Paz, Bolivia: $75

Strange souvenirs, enchanted souvenirs or whatever you wish to call them can be found at the Witches’ Market of La Paz. The objects here can be a bit frightening to look at, from the dried frogs to aphrodisiac potions, but rest assured these objects are sold to bring luck to the buyer. Bolivian witch doctors in dark hats can be seen wandering the alleys; be sure to ask them about their practices and magical abilities. This market is not only interesting, but a great learning experience about the surrounding culture.

Bangkok, Thailand: $103

Bangkok is known for its market scene at all times of the day. Khlong Lat Mayom is a famous floating market in Thailand – a market of vendors selling items like pottery, food and other authentic Thai goods right off of small canoe-like boats. Khao San Road is a local night market that sells everything from kitchen tables to Pad Thai. For items that can be taken home in a suitcase, they have everything from T-shirts to wallets purses and shoes. It’s a great place to also find authentic souvenirs to bring home.

Health & Wellness

Honolulu, HI, U.S.
5.4.3-health-honolulu-relaxed-surroundings

In a recent article by The Huffington Post on the top healthiest cities in the U.S.[2], a number of cities were highlighted that have naturally healthy options for those living there. This can, in turn, be cities where travelers can easily find healthy food options, peaceful green areas and heart-pumping activities that allow them to stay well while traveling.

Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN, U.S.: $135

The Twin Cities have ideal outdoor fitness opportunities and is therefore a top healthy destination in the U.S. The area is plentiful with its number of lakes, great for canoeing and other water sports. Sprawling parks like Mears Park are home to bikers, runners and even just those going on a quick stroll. The fall season boasts apple picking at local orchards, Halloween and fall festivals. The city also has the highest per capita of farmer’s markets, according to SmarterTravel.com. This access to fresh produce and outdoor activities makes it a healthy destination[3] for visitors and locals alike.

San Jose, CA, U.S.: $140

San Jose’s warm climate is not only good for producing relaxed people, but for producing a plethora of organic fruits and vegetables. Organic foods aren’t just accessible at farmers’ markets, but at mainstream restaurants and grocery stores. The people themselves love to garden, with 18 community gardens available to residents. Visitors can learn to garden[4] at these farms with a welcoming community just a short drive from the city.

Honolulu, HI, U.S.: $207

Those living in Honolulu are as relaxed as the atmosphere that surrounds them. Taking a vacation to Hawaii is a mental break from the “real world,” with cascading waterfalls and sunny beaches. The residents have high cancer-survival rates and low BMIs, which are a result of their environment. Hawaiians also have a great love of surfing, which keeps them fit. Visitors can take a turn at the swells by signing up for a surf class[5] before they even arrive.

Adventure

Salt Lake City, UT, U.S.
5.5.1-adventure-salt-lake-city-olympics-2002
If you’ve found yourself dreaming of training like an Olympian during the Sochi Olympics this winter, don’t give up just yet. A number of former host cities in the U.S. and Canada allow visitors to experience everything from bobsledding to ski jumping first-hand.

Salt Lake City, UT, U.S.: $105

If you’d like to experience a bobsled on an Olympic track or learn how to curl from certified instructors, look no further than Salt Lake City. Home of the 2002 Games, the former Olympic site also offers adventure courses that test your rope and balance skills at various ability levels. Visitors can even zipline over the edge of a Nordic ski jump.

[1] www.travelagentcentral.com/mexico/mexico-tourism-board-rolls-out-live-it-believe-it-campaign-new-york-event-42736
[2] www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/09/03/happiest-healthiest-american-cities-prevention_n_3825029.html
[3] www.smartertravel.com/travel-guides/page.php?id=3608167
[4] http://veggielution.org
[5] www.yelp.com/search?find_desc=Surf+Lessons&find_loc=Honolulu%2C+HI

Vancouver, BC, Canada: $164

Not only is Whistler one of the top ski resorts in the world, but it is also home to many of the events from the 2010 Games. The massive resort offers an array of Olympic activities for visitors such as bobsledding and biathlon, but the most unique is a one-day ski jumping camp for children ages 8 to 12. Beginning in fall 2014, visitors will also be able to check out hands-on simulation displays at the Richmond Olympic Experience.

Music

Toronto, ON, Canada
View of Toronto's Old City Hall and Fountain
While some of the country’s largest music festivals like Bonaroo and Coachella take over isolated areas, other festivals have followed Austin’s South By Southwest (SXSW) model of taking over an entire city. Music fans can enjoy these festivals while simultaneously exploring each city’s culture and nightlife.

Moogfest, April 23-27
Asheville, NC, U.S.: $125

Great food and an exceptional live music scene aren’t the only things that Asheville and Austin, TX have in common. After taking a year off in 2013, the organizers of Asheville’s Moogfest have expanded the festival to a five-day format similar to SXSW, but catered specifically to Electronic music. This year’s festival will take over downtown Asheville with more than 70 bands and 60 panels, discussions and film screenings.

North By Northeast (NXNE), June 13-22
Toronto, ON, Canada: $153

What started as a three-day music festival has expanded into a 10-day event that spans music, film, interactive comedy and art. NXNE features more than 800 bands from all over the world that will converge upon Toronto’s 50+ music venues. The city’s largest music festival features a mix of both up-and-coming bands and headline acts.

CMJ Music Marathon, October 21-25
New York City, NY, U.S.: $267

Months before the industry’s newest indie buzz bands hit Austin, many make their way to the CMJ Music Marathon in New York. The festival takes over Brooklyn and Manhattan’s Lower East Side for five days, with over 1,000 bands playing across 80 venues. Discounted badges are available for students, but anyone can enjoy the many free shows.

chapter8

2014 Travel Trend Predictions

As many travelers resolve to explore destinations beyond their comfort zones, the experts at Hotels.com have identified a few top travel trends of 2014 that will influence where people travel and how they use tools from various travel-related purveyors to enhance their travel experiences.

Major Sporting Events Drive Travel

3.1-trends-sports-drive-travel

A city that will play host to a major sporting event is immediately thrust into the international limelight. The 2014 Winter Olympics and the 2014 FIFA World Cup being hosted in Sochi and Rio de Janeiro, respectively, help propel the trend of traveling for observation of sport in 2014. Travelers, who are also avid sports fans, will make room in their itineraries and go beyond the comforts of their plush resorts to connect with locals and take in the cultural heritage of the destination. The cities benefit from the influx of travelers and will undergo the customary self-improvement rituals of increased infrastructural developments, from new hotels and sporting complexes to improved roadways and airports – all in an effort to further enhance the city’s appeal to potential travelers.Domestically, Super Bowl XLVIII demonstrated how sporting events could shape the cultural experiences of visitors. Super Bowl XLVIII was the first in which two U.S. states, New York and New Jersey, shared hosting duties and was the first Super Bowl played outdoors in a cold-weather city. In true New York fashion, the city hosted a Super Bowl Boulevard[1], spanning 13 blocks, designed as an interactive football-themed experience complete with toboggan run, autograph sessions, concerts and more. Needless to say, these events will remain a driving force among travelers and an avenue through which destinations can showcase their culture on a highly visible national or global platform.


[1] www.nycgo.com/articles/super-bowl-boulevard

Special Focus on Business and Meetings Professionals

Given that business travel is expected to rise 6.6% to $289.8 billion in 2014 according to the Global Business Travel Association[1], it’s no surprise that brands such as Omni Hotels & Resorts and Radisson Blu Hotels & Resorts are taking notice of this increasingly important group.In July 2013, Omni Hotels & Resorts introduced a new multi-media campaign using augmented reality technology targeted towards meeting trade professionals that appeared in leading meetings publications, including Convene, Meetings & Conventions and One+. Once readers download the free Omni LIVE[2] app they can scan a code from the ad to unlock exclusive videos, guest testimonials and offers. Unlike similar interactive ads, the fact that Omni chose to target this initiative on the meeting trades shows a unique priority and dedication to this group.In the same manner, Radisson Blu Hotels & Resorts launched an “Experience Meetings[3] program, which emphasizes innovations in food and beverage (Brain Food), reducing the carbon footprint (Think Planet), changes to the spatial environment (Brain Box), as well as advancements in meeting technology, including a dedicated app for smart phones.

We anticipate that other brands will follow suit and eagerly await their clever tactics to one-up the competition.


[1] http://skift.com/2014/01/16/u-s-business-travel-spending-to-rise-more-than-previously-forecast
[2] www.omnihotels.com/MeetingsAndEvents/omniunderstands.aspx
[3] www.radissonblu.com/meetings/experience-meetings

Travel Like a Local

Travelers in 2013 became more intent on immersing themselves into the native environment in order to eat, live and work like a local. To adapt, travel brands began to position their hotels as “travel experiences” where concierges recommended restaurants locals would love and generally connect the traveler to the destination in a short period of time.Brands like Westin and Kimpton are creating opportunities for guests to immerse themselves into the local culture while still staying in a full-service hotel. Westin Hotels created the Run Concierge at many of its locations so guests can join a group run, or grab a running map and discover the landscape of the new city they are staying in for themselves. Kimpton Hotels created a program for local staff members to share the destination’s hotspots on the brand’s website and in the hotels. Anyone from the General Managers to custodial staff are asked to share their favorite hangouts, updated monthly, offering a highly curated array of destination insight at a variety of price points.Other hotel brands are transforming their lobbies into community areas. Affinia Hotels created Wine Hour, a complimentary reception where guests can relax and socialize with others. Many times, the hour is affixed with local art showcases, charity events and craft beer tastings. The lobbies of the Ace Hotels are destinations in and of themselves and are inviting spaces where people are always welcome to congregate, socialize, work or wind down. The Ace Hotel in New York has become a central hub for New Yorkers, international travelers, and a hotbed of startups and freelancers.

Many other travel brands have adapted to turn an otherwise touristy vacation into a localized one. EatWith[1] is an app that allows travelers to meet up with locals in the area and grab a bite. This way, travelers can meet local chefs and indulge in authentic foods around the world. The Jamaica Tourist Board also has a “Meet the People” program[2] that connects guests to Jamaicans with similar interests. Visitors can spend a day in the life of a musician, doctor, chef, dancer, farmer, teacher, photographer, artist, or participate in a wide range of activities, such as hiking, shopping at a local craft or food market, visiting a church, or a school and touring a historical sites.


[1] www.travelandleisure.com/articles/most-important-travel-trends-2014/8
[2] www.visitjamaica.com/feel-the-vibe/people/meet-the-people-program

chapter9

Travel talk

Russian International Travel Monitor

Russian-International-Travel-Monitor

Fueled by its growing middle class and rising spending power, Russia is experiencing a travel boom like never before, according to the Hotels.com Russian International Travel Monitor (RITM). Almost half (49%) of hoteliers worldwide have seen a rise in Russian guests in the last year, with 54% of those hoteliers seeing bookings grow by more than 10%.According to UNWTO, Russia is now the world’s second-fastest growing outbound travel market in terms of spend, up 26% for the first nine months of 2013 and more than doubling since 2005. The RITM examines how hoteliers are reacting to this rapid growth, which last year saw Russians spend $43 billion on travel abroad, making Russia the fifth biggest outbound travel market globally, closely following the U.S.

The country has become a top performing growth market for many destinations and international outbound travel is forecast to grow by 7.5% per year on average to 2017. However, with a population of more than 140 million, there is still a huge untapped market for foreign travel that will create demand for different types of holiday and new destinations that are bound to make an impact on the pattern of world tourism.

Many hoteliers also supported this fact as 43% said that Russians are now spending more money on their travels. Moreover, they are becoming more confident and independent, with improved foreign language skills. More than half (53%) already book their accommodation online with only 32% opting for a traditional travel agent.

With 92% of the hoteliers surveyed by Hotels.com expecting the volume of Russian visitors to increase over the next three years, many are making changes to deliver a warmer welcome. Almost a third (32%) of hoteliers have already started to offer Russian TV channels while more than a fifth (23%) have hired Russian-speaking staff, with a further 12% planning to do so.

To make sure that Russian guests have a more relaxing stay, 15% of hoteliers plan to offer translated welcome materials, in addition to the 20% that already do so, and a further 15% plan to start providing translated travel and tourism guides, with 11% intending to introduce Russian food.

The Best Taxis in the World

U.S. Taxi Infographic
hotels.com_taxi_infographic_US

Of the 30 countries surveyed in our 2013 Global Taxi Survey*, London topped the list across five of the seven categories for the sixth year in a row. While London cabs were also voted top for friendliness (23%) it was this category that was deemed the least important to travelers, meaning London’s friendly cabbies could put off some passengers. Safety proved to be the number one priority for travelers, and London also topped the list for safest drivers with almost a quarter of the votes.New York City and Bangkok taxis tied in terms of value for money (20%); interestingly the latter didn’t quite make the overall top five this year. New York’s recognizable yellow taxis grabbed the top spot when it came to availability (23%), and will likely maintain this ranking in the coming years due to the introduction of thousands of new green-colored taxis for more widespread access to New York City’s boroughs.

The global Hotels.com taxi survey also revealed the world’s more obscure objects that travelers have admitted to leaving behind, which included:

  • A wig and a bird in a cage left behind in a U.S. cab
  • A prosthetic leg and an ex-boyfriend in Australia
  • A trombone in Finland
  • Dentures in Germany
Globally, the survey found that more people tend to text or email while in a cab (19%), while sleeping was the second most popular activity (15%), followed by eating (10%) and kissing (9%). When asked which nation was the most amorous in the back of a cab, Brits came out with 14% admitting to displaying passionate behavior, 10% higher than the global average of 4%.

Other global findings include:

  • Over half of us (53%) would choose a taxi as our desired mode of transport from airport to hotel.
  • While the majority of people would round up to the nearest amount when tipping (38%), taxi passengers tend to choose not to tip more than 10% for the journey.
  • The most important feature in a taxi is WiFi (14%), beating both the radio and music.

 *2,683 respondents across 30 countries.

Fast and Furious – Mobile Bookings

Mobile-bookings-hotels.com

Mobile devices have truly become an integral part of the travel experience. Since 2011, Hotels.com has had over 25 million downloads of its mobile hotel booking app, proving that millions of people are adapting to the mobile way of life, especially when it comes to booking a hotel room on-the-go.
Spontaneous

According to data compiled by Hotels.com, mobile apps are vital for last-minute hotel bookings. The travel expert found that a whopping 60% of mobile bookings from the first half of 2013 were made for same-day check-in, while 68% of bookings were made within two days of check-in.

Shorter Stays & Economically-Minded

The data also found that rooms booked via mobile were not intended for long stays but rather short getaways or spontaneous trips. The majority of rooms, 70%, were booked for one-night stays, while 89% of rooms were booked for two-night or one-night stays. When broken down by device, iPad users were more likely to book longer stays (three days or more) than iPhone or Android users and stayed at hotels with higher star ratings. Over a third of mobile bookings (42%) are for two-star hotels.

Top Stops

So where are these spontaneous jetsetters traveling to? The Entertainment Capital of the World, Las Vegas, was the top destination booked via mobile. This was followed by New York City, Orlando, San Diego and Houston.

Hotels.com highlights of 2013

Hotels.com achieved several notable successes in 2013.

  • In February, Byte Level Research’s report of Best Global Websites 2013 listed Hotels.com as number 2, rising three spots in a year to its highest ever position. The Report Card analyzed websites according to four criteria: Global Reach (Languages), Global Navigation, Global/Mobile Architecture and Localization & Social.
  • In March, Hotels.com was named the Top Travel Website in the UK by eDigitalResearch which measured user satisfaction across the entire end-to-end customer journey, from first impressions all the way through to customer contact. Hotels.com claimed the top spot for its clean and simple homepage, clear navigational links and extensive range of search filters.
  • In the UK, Hotels.com was officially named a CoolBrand in an influential annual survey to identify the country’s coolest brands for the second year running and was Highly Commended in the leisure and tourism category of the Online Retail Awards in the UK.
  • In February, Hotels.com launched a pioneering mobile app specifically designed for the Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 device. The app, which is also available across all devices in the Samsung Galaxy Note series, makes use of the device’s integrated pen-input technology, called the S Pen, to provide users with a richer and more interactive booking experience. In March, an app for Windows 8 was launched and, in the same month, the Hotels.com mobile app was named the Best Hotel Booking App in the Hotels & Resorts category by About.com, surpassing several other leading online travel companies to capture nearly half of the vote. Later in the year, Hotels.com became the first third-party travel app to be included in U.S. automaker Ford’s “Sync with AppLink” program, enabling drivers to use voice activation to search Hotels.com lodging content for nearby accommodation. In December, an app for the Kindle Fire was added to the portfolio. Collectively, Hotels.com apps have achieved more than 25 million downloads since the launch in 2011.
  • Hotels.com also rolled out new functionality on its iPhone and iPad apps to notify Welcome Rewards members in 89 countries when they have earned a free* night. Members of the loyalty program in the U.S. also receive notifications via the app when Welcome Rewards nights have been earned. Since the launch of the Welcome Rewards program, Hotels.com has rewarded its customers with more than one million free nights*.
  • Many of the international sites celebrated their 10th anniversary during 2013 including 13 in Europe and Australia.

*The maximum value of the free night is the average daily rate of the 10 nights stayed. The free night does not include taxes and fees.

Hotels.com in numbers:

25+ million Hotels.com mobile apps downloaded
10+ million Customer reviews from guests who have actually stayed in the hotels
10+ million Welcome Rewards members
1+ million Free* nights given away to Welcome Rewards members
More than 260,000 Bookable properties available on the site through the Expedia group network
85+ Localized Hotels.com websites around the world
35 Languages

*as of February 6, 2014

About Hotels.com

Hotels.com is a leading online accommodation booking website with more than 260,000 properties around the world through the Expedia® group network, ranging from international chains and all-inclusive resorts to local favorites and bed & breakfasts, together with all the information needed to book the perfect stay.Starting as a telephone service in 1991, the first website was launched in the U.S. in 2002 with the first international version launched in the UK later that year. There are now more than 85 Hotels.com sites worldwide in Europe, North, Central and South America, Asia Pacific, the Middle East and South Africa, the majority of which are in localized languages.Hotels.com benefits from one of the largest hotel contracting teams in the industry, constantly working to bring more hotels to the sites and ensuring best value pricing for its customers with frequent sales, special deals and promotions. Regular customer e-newsletters provide exclusive offers and advance notice of up-coming sales. There are more than 10 million reviews on the site from users who have actually stayed in the hotels to ensure customers can make an informed choice when booking.

Through its industry-leading loyalty program, Welcome Rewards*, available in all markets, customers can get a free** night for every 10 nights stayed, subject to Welcome Rewards terms and conditions as set out at www.hotels.com. They can collect their 10 nights across more than 100,000 independent and chain hotels and redeem their free night** at more than 90,000 eligible hotels around the world, including many that do not have loyalty programs of their own. Since launch, Hotels.com has rewarded its customers with more than one million free nights**.

Under its Price Match Guarantee, if a customer can find a lower price on a prepaid hotel, Hotels.com will refund the difference, subject to the Price Match terms and conditions set out on www.hotels.com.

Travelers can book online or by contacting one of the multilingual call centers. A portfolio of special apps for mobile phones and tablets can also be downloaded at www.hotels.com/deals/mobile enabling customers to book on the go with access to 20,000 exclusive last-minute deals.

Hotels.com is part of the Expedia group, the largest travel company in the world with an extensive portfolio that includes some of the world’s best-known brands. Follow Hotels.com on Facebook, Twitter and on YouTube.

© 2014 Hotels.com, LP. Hotels.com, The Obvious Choice, Captain Obvious, Hotel Price Index, HPI, Welcome Rewards and the Hotels.com logo are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Hotels.com, LP in the U.S. and/or other countries. All other trademarks are property of their respective owners. CST # 2083949-50

*Welcome Rewards is the Hotels.com loyalty program where members can collect 10 nights at eligible properties to get one night free to redeem on future bookings at another eligible property.
**The maximum value of the free night is the average daily rate of the 10 nights stayed. The free night does not include taxes and fees.

Contact Hotels.com

U.S. Headquarters
5400 LBJ Freeway, Suite 500, Dallas, Texas 75240
Phone 469-335-1000 or 800-2-HOTELS

For further information or interviews
Taylor L. Cole, APR, Public Relations North America
Hotels.com
taycole@hotels.com
469-335-8442

Patrick Burek
Finn Partners for Hotels.com
Patrick.Burek@finnpartners.com
212-715-1542

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