Hotel Price Index

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Introduction

The Hotels.com™Hotel Price Index™ (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 HPI 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 2-5) shows hotel prices across the world per room per night as paid by travellers from Canada in 2013 compared with 2012. This shows the changes in real prices paid by Canadian consumers, reflecting both movements in exchange rates and hotel pricing. In Chapter 6, figures are compiled from global bookings to Canada in all currencies. Chapter 7 covers the prices paid at home and away by Canadian and international travellers. Prices throughout are rounded to the nearest Canadian Dollar and percentage figures to the nearest percentage point.
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@energipr.com.
Follow the discussions on Twitter @hotelsdotcomca 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 Organisation), 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[1], 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 it 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)[2] during 2013 and these better occupancy levels helped the North American HPI climb 3%, equalling the global average. One out of every eight jobs in the USA depends on travel[3] so continued hospitality strength is welcome news for the economy.


[1] http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-25548060
[2] Source: Smith Travel Research
[3] http://www.ustravel.org/marketing/national-travel-and-tourism-week/talking-points-and-facts

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 program, 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[1]. In March, the Eurozone announced better than expected GDP results for the fourth quarter of 2013.

UNWTO figures show that Europe welcomed an additional 29 million international tourist arrivals in 2013, raising the total to 563 million. They also record that 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 most indicators point to the fact that the outlook for the sector is more hopeful.


[1] http://uk.reuters.com/article/2014/01/27/uk-germany-ifo-idUKBREA0Q0DB20140127

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[1], 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[2], 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.


[1] Source: Australian Government Tourism Research
[2] http://en.cnta.gov.cn/html/2013-11/2013-11-14-16-29-96565.html

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 Games in Russia in February and March and the 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 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 travellers 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[1], U.S. travellers 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 travellers to North America also frequented destinations on both coasts and the heartland. Chinese travellers visited American and Canadian favourites like New York City, Toronto and Los Angeles. Brazilian travellers shopped along Ocean Drive and spied the California coast line. North American cities make up more than a quarter of Chinese and Brazilian travellers’ 20 Most Popular International Cities, with the Chinese adding a new favourite, 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 travellers 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[2] and nearly quadruple by the end of 2015 to $39.5 billion in revenue and 25% market share[3]. Yet mobile travellers aren’t just relying on smartphones. According to PhoCusWright, tablet use has skyrocketed with 44% of travellers owning tablets and an additional four in 10 planning to purchase a tablet by the end of 2014[4]. 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 travellers and ensuing technological advances, the coming 12 months is sure to give travellers far and wide a new way of seeing things.


[1] http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/economy/loonie-hits-three-year-low-economists-see-more-declines-ahead/article16229612/
[2] Source: PhoCusWright Mobile Hits the Mainstream: Technology and Industry
[3] Source: PhoCusWright U.S. Online Travel Overview Thirteenth Edition
[4] Source: PhoCusWright Innovation Edition report

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

fig4

Growth in North America

  • 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

2013 Canadian Events Summary

From rock-star status politicians to Nobel Prize winners, Canadians, and the hometowns from which they hail, were making international headlines in 2013.
Calgary’s mayor, Naheed Nenshi, received international praise for his strong leadership in response to the Alberta floods, which caused more than $1.7 billion in damage. Despite this devastating setback, Nenshi was able to both win a second term in office by taking three-quarters of the votes in October, and boost Calgary’s tourism numbers to make it the fifth most visited Canadian city by foreign travellers, a two spot improvement compared to last year’s HPI.
At the age of 82, Canadian author Alice Munro won the 2013 Nobel Prize in Literature, becoming the first Canadian woman to take the award since its launch in 1901. Munro was praised by the Swedish Academy as the “master of the contemporary short story.” Many of Munro’s stories focus on striking portraits of women living in small-towns in the Huron County of southwestern Ontario.
Proving that any press can be good press, Toronto, Ontario remained the most-visited destination list amongst domestic and international travellers[1]. Despite making international headlines for its local weather and political storms, “Hogtown” continued to attract travellers to the city’s annual festivals, parades, world-class entertainment, varied restaurants and hotels to fit all types of travellers.One of the strangest and “most Canadian” stories to make international headlines this past year came out of Newfoundland as two men rescued a moose-eating shark near the harbour in Norris Arm North. In November, Derrick Chaulk and Jeremy Ball, discovered a beached Greenland shark that had choked on a large chunk of moose hide. Thanks to their quick thinking, the two men were able to remove the piece of moose from the shark’s mouth and move the animal into deep water to help it swim back into the ocean.

Overall, thanks to celebrities, politics, weather and feats of nature, tourism expenditures were on a steady rise in Canada in 2013, increasing by $236 million compared to the same period in 2012, according to Statistics Canada.


[1] Hotel Price Index: Most Popular International Cities for Canadian in 2013 and Most Popular Domestic Cities for Canadians in 2013

chapter3-1

Price Changes in Global Destinations for Canadians

The following sections reflect the actual prices paid by Canadian travellers per night in Canadian Dollars ($) during 2013 compared to prices paid in Canadian Dollars during 2012.

Where Canadians Paid the Least

Ancient temple, Cambodia
3.2 -Ancient-temple-Cambodia
If you’re looking for a budget-friendly international getaway or a long-term adventure, the following countries offered some of the best travel deals on the planet last year, and can serve as a starting point for your planning this year. Southeast Asia holds the top three spots on the list of Countries Where Canadians Paid the Least. Cambodia, known for magnificent temples, exotic jungles, white sand beaches and romantic colonial towns tops 2013’s best values.

Countries Where Canadians Paid the Least

Country 2013 2012 YoY
1. Cambodia $66 $69 -4%
2. Vietnam $72 $76 -5%
3. Philippines $97 $101 -4%
4. = Bulgaria $101 $125 -19%
4. = Honduras $101 $102 -1%
6. Poland $102 $115 -11%
7. Thailand $103 $102 1%
8. Tunisia $111 $110 1%
9. Nicaragua $112 $109 3%
10. Egypt $115 $103 12%

 = (equals) denotes tie based on average 2013 prices

When it costs less to go on vacation than to stay at home, nothing should hinder travel. For Canadian travellers, these prices will make you seriously question whether you need to book a return flight home.Fortunately, the international city where Canucks paid the least only requires crossing one border. In 2013, hotel rooms in Laughlin, Nevada were an average of just $37 per night. This city is known for its gaming and entertainment, with nine casinos, as well as its summer water activities along the Colorado River.

International Cities Where Canadians Paid the Least

City, State Country 2013 2012 YoY
1. Laughlin, NV U.S. $37 $33 11%
2. Hanoi Vietnam $60 $65 -8%
3. Phnom Penh Cambodia $61 $70 -13%
4. = Hoi An Vietnam $64 $66 -4%
4. = Kenmore, NY U.S. $64 $63 1%
6. = Calcium, NY U.S. $66 $66 -1%
6. = Des Moines, WA U.S. $66 $63 4%
8. = West Fargo, ND U.S. $67 $67 0%
8. = Mesquite, NV U.S. $67 $61 9%
10. Siem Reap Cambodia $70 $67 3%

= (equals) denotes tie based on average 2013 prices

Where Canadians Paid the Most

Sunset dinner, French Polynesia
3.3 -Sunset-dinner-French Polynesia
On the opposite end of the spectrum, the laid-back French Polynesia tops the list as the country where Canadian travellers paid the most for “island chic” accommodations and vivid lagoons. Turks and Caicos Islands came in at a close second place with world-class hotels, spas and uncrowned beaches.

Countries Where Canadians Paid the Most

Country 2013 2012 YoY
1. French Polynesia $365 $330 11%
2. Turks and Caicos Islands $338 $316 7%
3. Cayman Islands $302 $281 7%
4. Bahamas $293 $294 0%
5. Bermuda $287 $305 -6%
6. Aruba $261 $238 9%
7. Monaco $257 $363 -29%
8. Saudi Arabia $254 $207 23%
9. Barbados $235 $228 3%
10. St. Martin $234 $283 -17%
The destinations on the International Cities Where Canadians Paid the Most list can be found on most people’s travel wish lists and, for some, they may remain just that for quite a while! Most of the locales in this category are tropical destinations known for their beaches, warm weather and high-end hotel accommodations. Paradise Island, which is best known for housing the impressive Atlantis Paradise Island resort, came in at number one at just under $400 a night in 2013.

International Cities Where Canadians Paid the Most

City, State Country 2013 2012 YoY

1. Paradise Island
Bahamas $341 $347 -2%
2. Providenciale Turks and Caicos Islands $338 $316 7%
3. Seven Mile Beach Cayman Islands $326 $289 13%
4. Cannes France $300 $227 32%
5. = Lahaina, HI U.S. $298 $268 12%
5. = Punta Cana Dominican Republic $298 $287 4%
7. Positano Italy $292 $284 3%
8. Rio de Janeiro Brazil $285 $259 10%
9. New York, NY U.S. $271 $268 1%
10. Key West, FL U.S. $270 $242 11%

= (equals) denotes tie based on average 2013 prices

Global Price Increases

This section looks at the greatest price increases around the world for Canadian travellers.

Harbour sunset, Monaco
802085.TIF

In 2013, Canadian travellers paid significantly more in some rather exotic destinations. Agadir, Moroccotopped the list with a 58% jump in average room cost. The country’s premier destination for sun, sand and entertainment, Agadir mainly caters to package-tour holiday operators and guests opting for extended stays.This is a welcome change for Morocco, as international travellers are returning to the country and driving up its room rates[1]. During the Arab Spring that unfolded in 2011 and 2012, the travel industry suffered as travellers chose less volatile destinations.

Closer to home, Qualicum Beach in British Columbia saw a 37% increase in prices in 2013 for domestic travellers. This destination caters to sophisticated and relaxed hotel guests looking for smooth hiking trails, golf courses, boutique shopping and sandy beaches.


[1] http://www.ttgdigital.com/news/morocco-witnesses-huge-booking-increase-in-2013/4689983.article

The World’s Greatest Price Increases

City, Prov/State Country 2013 2012 YoY
1. Agadir Morocco $159 $101 58%
2. Canton, MI U.S. $96 $63 53%
3. Penang Malaysia $127 $87 45%
4. Qualicum Beach, BC Canada. $121 $88 37%
5. Biloxi, MS U.S. $119 $89 34%
6. = Antalya Turkey $196 $147 33%
6. = Bowmanville, ON Canada $147 $111 33%
8. Cannes France $300 $227 32%
9. Beirut Lebanon $161 $124 30%
10. Lafayette, LA U.S. $105 $82 29%
11. Essex Junction, VT U.S. $124 $96 28%
12. Bologna Italy $180 $143 26%
13. Tallinn Estonia $135 $109 24%
14. = Tulsa, OK U.S. $103 $83 24%
14. = Kahului, HI U.S. $160 $130 24%
14. = Florence, KY U.S. $95 $76 24%
17. = Cold Lake, AB Canada $162 $132 23%
17. = St. Lawrence Gap Barbados $213 $174 23%
17. = Mountain View, CA U.S. $151 $122 23%
17. = Riga Latvia $121 $98 23%

 = (equals) denotes tie based on average 2013 prices

Global Price Drops

This section looks at the greatest price decreases around the world for Canadian travellers.

Fortunately, great escapes often come at great prices! South Lake Tahoe in California, for example, saw a 33% decline in average room rates in 2013, making the postcard perfect destination even more accessible for nature lovers. On the shore of the largest alpine lake in North America, Canadian travellers can explore breathtaking hiking trails, biking paths, boating and skiing resorts.

Thailand

Thailand remains one of the most popular destinations for travellers around the world, in spite of recent headlines about the political unrest. Inbound travel is a major factor in the country’s economy, as it welcomed nearly 27 million visitors in 2013, up 20% from the previous year[1].

Monaco

As one of the smallest countries in the world, what Monaco lacks in size, it makes up in grace. Commonly known for its sky-high room prices, a recent 29% drop in rates in Monte Carlo makes this glitzy destination slightly more attainable for the average traveller.

[1] http://www.tatnews.org/thailand-welcomed-26-7-million-visitor-arrivals-in-2013-exceeding-target/

 

The World’s Greatest Price Drops

City, Prov/State Country 2013 2012 YoY
1. South Lake Tahoe, CA U.S. $85 $127 -33%
2. Nadi Fiji $95 $138 -31%
3. Monte Carlo, Monaco $257 $363 -29%
4. Minett, ON Canada $269 $371 -27%
5. Nuremberg Germany $117 $156 -25%
6. Minot, ND U.S. $117 $153 -24%
7. Turin Italy $135 $173 -22%
8. Ko Samui Thailand $110 $139 -21%
9. Ko Phi Phi Thailand $130 $164 -21%
10. Augusta, GA U.S. $180 $227 -21%
11. Narita Japan $80 $101 -20%
12. Cebu Philippines $71 $87 -19%
13. Dead Man’s Flats, AB Canada $174 $214 -19%
14. Warsaw Poland $100 $122 -18%
15. New Glasgow, NA Canada $116 $142 -18%
16. York United Kingdom $120 $146 -18%
17. Moab, UT U.S. $111 $134 -17%
18. Ocean Shores, WA U.S. $90 $109 -17%
19. Nanoose Bay, BS Canada $150 $181 -17%
20. Magog, QC Canada $150 $179 -16%
chapter4

Canadians’ Travel Habits

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

Most Popular Domestic Cities for Canadians

Cementing their top positions, Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver once again top the charts as the most visited destinations for both Canadians and international travellers.

Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

Railroad side farm, Saskatchewan
4.4 -Railroad-farm-Saskatchewan
Situated on the edge of nature, Saskatoon’s big skies, flowing river and generous green spaces helped the city jump from the 15th most travelled city for domestic travellers to the 12th spot in 2013. Home to numerous events, festivals and dozens of walking trails, the city boasts tons of fun for travellers of all ages.

Whistler, British Columbia

For the second year in a row, Whistler continued to climb in popularity amongst Canadians, rising one spot to number 13. In addition to world-class skiing and snowboarding slopes, travellers can now enjoy the legacies of the 2010 Games by visiting the Whistler Sliding Centre, Whistler Olympic Park and Whistler Olympic Plaza.

20 Most Popular Domestic Cities for Canadians

City, Prov 2013 2012 Rank
1. Toronto, ON $148 1.
2. Montreal, QC $156 2.
3. Vancouver, BC $148 3.
4. Niagara Falls, ON $141 4.
5. Edmonton, AB $140 5.
6. Ottawa, ON $148 6.
7. Calgary, AB $161 7.
8. Quebec, QC $130 8.
9. Victoria, BC $138 9.
10. Banff, AB $169 10.
11. Winnipeg, MB $136 11.
12. Saskatoon, SK $161 15.
13. Whistler, BC $186 14.
14. Halifax, NS $157 12.
15. London, ON $107 13.
16. Kelowna, BC $154 17.
17. Regina, SK $151 18.
18. Canmore, AB $159 16.
19. Kingston, ON $128 19.
20. Kamloops, BC $116 20.

Provinces Where Canadians Paid the Most

Downtown St. John, Newfoundland
4.3 -Downtown-St-John-Newfoundland
While Newfoundland and Labrador’s dramatic coastlines, sweeping barrens, and thick boreal forests may be free to view, their hotel rooms are not. The easternmost province is where Canadians spent the most in 2013 with average prices of $183. Second place goes to a province with thick forests and majestic landscapes. Alberta rang up at an average of $152 per night.

Provinces Over $145

Province 2013 2012 YoY
1. NL $183 $173 6%
2. AB $152 $149 2%
3. = NT $151 $160 -6%
3. = QC $151 $151 0%
5. SK $149 $145 3%

 = (equals) denotes tie based on average 2013 prices

City Extremes: Where Canadians Paid the Most and Least Domestically

Newfoundland
4.2 -Puffin-family-Newfoundland
According to the latest HPI results, sky-high west coast hotel prices are as widespread as the mountains in British Columbia and Alberta. Claiming four of the top five highest average hotel room rates in 2013, hotels in Field, BC; Lake Louise, AB; Kananaskis, AB; and Brentwood Bay, BC brought Canadian hotel prices to new heights.As one of the most popular cities for domestic travel where travellers paid the most, many Canadians know why Lake Louise is described as a “picturesque” destination. With an average hotel room cost of $255 per night in 2013, frugal travellers could find their fix with a photo of the emerald lake and surrounding mountains.

Canadian Cities Over $185

City, Prov 2013 2012 YoY
1. Minett, ON $269 $371 -27%
2. Field, BC $267 $247 8%
3. Lake Louise, AB $255 $245 4%
4. Kananaskis, AB $247 $259 -5%
5. Brentwood Bay, BC $234 $204 15%
6. Fort Mcmurray, AB $222 $207 7%
7. Ucluelet, BC $221 $231 -5%
8. Summerland, BC $214 $208 3%
9. Blue Mountains, ON $213 $220 -3%
10. Gravenhurst, ON $207 $185 12%
11. = Mont Tremblant, QC $202 $202 0%
11. = Montebello, QC $202 $206 -2%
13. Tofino, BC $199 $225 -11%
14. Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON $192 $185 3%
15. = St. John’s, NL $188 $179 5%
15.  = La Malbaie, QC $188 $185 2%
17. Osoyoos, BC $187 $192 -3%
18.  = Saint-Sauveur, QC $186 $174 7%
18. = Whistler, BC $186 $178 5%
18. = North Hatley, QC $186 $177 5%

 = (equals) denotes tie based on average 2013 prices

A bounty of travel treasures can be found across the country. In 2013, bargain destinations started in east coast Nova Scotia at Margaree Forks and moved west to include Taber, AB and Chateau-Richer, QC.

Canadian Cities Under $110

City, Prov 2013 2012 YoY
1. Margaree Forks, NS $82 $81 1%
2. Taber, AB $85 $88 -4%
2. = Chateau-Richer, QC $85 $82 4%
4. Repentigny, QC $91 $81 13%
5. Lindsay, ON 96 $92 4%
6. Mount Hope, ON $98 $96 2%
7. Wawa, ON $99 $83 19%
8. = Langley, BC $100 $100 -1%
8. = Bracebridge, ON $100 $119 -16%
10. = Saanichton, BC $101 $96 5%
10. = Chatham, ON $101 $95 7%
12. = Maple Ridge, BC $102 $104 -2%
12. = Pitt Meadows, BC $102 $107 -5%
14. = Merritt, BC $103 $96 8%
14. = Welland, ON $103 $102 1%
14. = Sainte-Helene-De-Bagot, QC $103 $104 -1%
17. = 100 Mile House, BC $105 $98 7%
17. = Innisfail, AB $105 $106 -1%
17. = Campbell River, BC $105 $100 5%
17. = Quesnel, BC $105 $102 4%

 = (equals) denotes tie based on average 2013 prices

When it comes to Canadians’ most frequented international travel destinations in 2013, the “Big Apple” grew in popularity in the second half of the year to reclaim its position as the top international destination for Canadian travellers, bumping Las Vegas to the number two spot.

Here’s where else Canucks opted to go when travelling outside of the country:

London, England

After showing off its best sights, sounds and attractions on the world stage with the 2012 Summer Olympics, London saw a huge increase in popularity jumping three spots since 2012 to become the fifth most popular international destination in 2013.

Boston, MA, United States of America

Home to the Red Sox, Bruins, Celtics and Patriots, the city of Boston climbed one spot to become the sixth most popular international city for Canadians in 2013. Voted amongst America’s Favourite Cities in a recent Travel + Leisure magazine survey, Boston is home to great classical music, culture, history and passionate sports fans.

Hong Kong

Hong Kong, China
4.1 -Sail-Boat-on-Hong-Kong-harbour
A new addition to the 20 Most Popular International Cities for Canadians list is Hong Kong, jumping seven spots in 2013 to enter the list at number 16. Aside from being the only Asian destination in the Top 20, the city is known for its expansive skyline, harbour-front and shopping districts. Although it’s a popular business destination, Hong Kong is a great fusion of history and modern innovation sure to please travellers seeking a well-rounded travel experience.

20 Most Popular International Cities for Canadians

City, State Country 2013 2012 Rank
1. New York, NY U.S. $271 1.
2. Las Vegas, NV U.S. $113 2.
3. Orlando, FL U.S. $107 4.
4. Seattle, WA U.S. $162 3.
5. London United Kingdom $223 8.
6. Boston, MA U.S. $188 7.
7. Chicago, IL U.S. $183 5.
8. San Francisco, CA U.S. $213 6.
9. Los Angeles, CA U.S. $169 9.
10. Paris France $215 10.
11. San Diego, CA U.S. $148 11.
12. Newark, NJ U.S. $150 14.
13. Rome Italy $181 12.
14. Miami, FL U.S. $210 13.
15. Fort Lauderdale, FL U.S. $154 16.
16. Hong Kong Hong Kong $166 23.
17. Detroit, MI U.S. $122 22.
18. Washington, DC U.S. $165 17.
19. Portland, OR U.S. $130 19.
20. Barcelona Spain $173 18.

 

chapter5

The Price of Luxury

The following sections reflect the actual prices paid per night by Canadian travellers in Canadian Dollars ($) during 2013.

The hotel you choose for your vacation often has a major effect on how much you enjoy your time away from home, especially when you’re travelling for relaxation and romance. Fortunately at many four-and five-star hotels around the world, you can vacation in the lap of luxury without spending a fortune.Five-star hotels in Zurich, Switzerland, for example, saw a 31% drop in prices. From window-shopping on the Bahnhofstrasse to sightseeing in Old Town, dropping hotel prices can make luxury vacations a more affordable part of your travel life!

Largest Price Drops: Four-and Five-Star Hotels

City Country Star Rating 2013 2012 YoY
1. Zurich Switzerland 5 $166 $242 -31%
2. Sao Paulo Brazil 4 $203 276 -26%
3. Delhi India 4 $120 150 -20%
4. Guangzhou China 5 $188 229 -18%
5. Guangzhou China 4 $117 141 -17%
6. Warsaw Poland 5 $121 144 -16%

 

Best Five-Star Values

Warsaw, Poland
LS009328
The epitome of luxury is a five-star hotel. When you want to relax without breaking the bank, consider this list with a variety of cities where five-star hotels had average prices under $200 per night in 2013. Warsaw, Poland offered the best dollar-per-star value. For only $120 per night, Canadians could indulge in the lap of luxury without spending much Polish złoty, Poland’s currency.

Five-Star Destinations Under $200 for Canadians

City, Country 2013
1. Warsaw, Poland $121
2. Cairo, Egypt $159
3. Zurich, Switzerland $166
4. Lisbon, Portugal $171
5. Mumbai, India $187
6. Guangzhou, China $188
7. = Budapest, Hungary $192
7. = Delhi, India $192
9. Berlin, Germany $194
10. Marrakech, Morocco $196

 

Best Four-Star Values

Marrakech, Morocco
Water Vendors in Marrakech
The city of Marrakech had the most affordable four-star hotels for Canadians in 2013, at less than $100 on average each night. With savings like these, it’s hard to resist the souks (marketplaces) that the city is so well-known for. Besides, who doesn’t like a little shopping? If you’re looking to relax and pamper yourself, try a trip to Poland. Known for its castles, heart-warming foods, spacious resorts and designer spas, luxury is the name of the game.

Four-Star Destinations Under $120 for Canadians

City Country 2013
1. Marrakech Morocco $94
2. Warsaw Poland $100
3. Bangkok Thailand $106
4. Budapest Hungary $113
5. Shanghai China $114
6. Guangzhou China $117
7. Beijing China $118
8. Lisbon Portugal $119

 

Each country has its own star ratings system, and in some cases, more than one. This means travellers 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.

chapter6

International Travel Habits

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

Most Popular Canadian Cities for Foreign Travellers

In 2013, Hogtown, Vancity and the City of Saints, also known as Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal, continued to hold their positions as the Canadian cities most visited by international travellers.

Calgary, Alberta

Calgary, Alberta
6.1 -Downtown-city-lights-Calgary
Cowboy hats off to our friends in Calgary, Alberta. Despite devastating floods that shut down and damaged the majority of the city in June 2013, Calgary managed to climb two spots to number five on the list of the 20 Most Popular Canadian Cities for Foreign Travellers. Whether it was the success of the “We’re Open” campaign following the flood or the draw of the Calgary Stampede, Calgary knows how to wrangle and captivate travellers from home and abroad.

Windsor, Ontario

With a popular casino and an interesting past-life as a port used to smuggle whiskey during prohibition, Windsor is easy to access from the U.S. through the Windsor-Detroit tunnel. The ‘Rose City’ is an appealing option for travellers, up three spots to number 14.

Top 20 Canadian Cities for Foreign Travellers

City, Prov 2013 2012 Rank
1. Toronto, ON $152 1.
2. Vancouver, BC $159 2.
3. Montreal, QC $161 3.
4. Niagara Falls, ON $148 4.
5. Calgary, AB $168 7.
6. Quebec, QC $156 5.
7. Ottawa, ON $149 8.
8. Victoria, BC $146 6.
9. Banff, AB $179 9.
10. Edmonton, AB $141 11.
11. Whistler, BC $208 10.
12. Winnipeg, MB $136 12.
13. Halifax, NS $160 13.
14. Windsor, ON $120 17.
15. London, ON $108 15.
16. Jasper, AB $198 16.
17. Canmore, AB $163 14.
18. Lake Louise, AB $289 18.
19. Saskatoon,SK $162 20.
20. Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON $191 23.


Where Canadian Room Rates Increased for Foreign Travellers

Qualicum Beach, British Columbia

Qualicum Beach, British Columbia
6.2 -Ocean-side-hotel-Qualicum-Beach
With very little room to expand its hotel offerings, the small town of Qualicum Beach, BC is one of Vancouver Island’s best kept secrets. On the shores of the Strait of Georgia, this town is home to less than 10,000 people and is in high demand amongst international and domestic travellers alike. While it didn’t make the list of the 20 Most Popular Canadian Cities for Foreign Travellers, demand for this quiet town has increased its average room rates by 37% in 2013.

Western Shore, Nova Scotia

On the eastern side of the country, Western Shore, NS, is making waves amongst jetsetters and road trippers. With stunning vistas and seafood worth writing home about, this town is only an hour drive away from Halifax, NS. Compared to the same period in 2012, Western Shore has enjoyed a 20% increase in average room rates.

Largest Price Increases in Canadian Cities for Foreign Travellers

City, Prov 2013 2012 YoY
1. Qualicum Beach, BC $121 $88 37%
2. Bowmanville, ON $149 $116 28%
3. Cold Lake, AB $163 $132 24%
4. Western Shore, NS $148 $123 20%
5. = Wawa, ON $99 $83 19%
5. = Port Colborne, ON $96 $80 19%
5. = Morell, PEI $212 $179 19%
8. = Rocky Mountain House, AB $142 $121 18%
8. = Sturgeon Falls, ON $113 $96 18%
10.=  Lunenburg, NS $149 $127 17%
10. = Harvie Heights, AB $121 $104 17%
12. Slave Lake, AB $136 $118 16%
13. = Vaudreuil, QC $172 $149 15%
13. =  Annapolis Royal, NS $138 $120 15%
13. = Repentigny, QC $92 $81 15%
16. = Invermere, BC $149 $132 13%
16. =  Gravenhurst, ON $208 $184 13%
18. = Fort Saskatchewan, AB $147 $130 12%
18. = Drumheller, AB $166 $147 12%
18. = Bonnyville, AB $152 $136 12%

 = (equals) denotes tie based on average 2013 prices

Top International Spenders for Hotel Rooms in Canada

This section looks at the average prices paid for a hotel room in Canada by visiting nationality, shown in Canadian Dollars ($).

Based on all travel spending in Canada, Statistics Canada registered a $236 million increase in travel spending year-over-year from 2012 to 2013. Visitors from Thailand, Iceland and Norway notched the top spots in the Top International Spenders list as the countries that pay out the most for Canadian hotel rooms. Travellers from Malaysia increased their spending per room by 22%, which may be attributed to the growth of Malaysia’s economy in 2013, allowing more Malaysians to travel abroad[1].

[1] http://www.oxfordbusinessgroup.com/economic_updates/malaysia%E2%80%99s-tourism-sector-targets-niche-markets
Top International Spenders for Hotel Rooms in Canada

Country/Region 2013 2012 YoY
1. Thailand $198 $171 15%
2. Iceland $187 $158 18%
3. Norway $183 $167 10%
4. = Mexico $174 $157 11%
4. = Australia $174 $176 -1%
6. = Middle East $173 $140 23%
6. = Indonesia $173 $166 4%
8. = Japan $172 $173 0%
8. = China $172 $166 4%
8. = Singapore $172 $165 4%
8. = South Africa $172 $165 4%
12. = Malaysia $168 $137 22%
12. = Argentina $168 $157 7%
12. =  Sweden $168 $158 7%
15. Colombia $167 $182 -9%
16. = United Kingdom $166 $165 1%
16. = Chile $166 $187 -11%
16. = Denmark $166 $157 6%
16. = Ireland $166 $162 2%
20. = Belgium $165 $152 9%
20. = Brazil $165 $164 1%
20. Switzerland $165 $165 0%
23. Austria $164 $143 14%
24. Philippines $163 $156 5%
24. = United States of America $163 $160 2%

 = (equals) denotes tie based on average 2013 prices

 

chapter7

Prices Paid at Home and Away

Travelling Abroad

Tokyo, Japan
7.1 -Busy-nightlife-city-street-Tokyo
Canadian travellers were listed in the middle of the most generous travellers when venturing outside their country, sitting at 19th and spending an average of $153 per night.

Travellers from Switzerland once again paid the most when travelling internationally at an average of $188 per room night. U.S. travellers were second, spending $179 per night, followed closely by the Norwegians spending $178 for room nights. Travellers from Argentina were the highest spending Latin Americans paying an average of $175 for room nights. Japan, the highest paying nation from APAC, tied with British travellers at $175.

Malaysian travellers were the most cost-conscious with an average spend of $133, followed by the Taiwanese at $134 and the Dutch at $139 per room night.

Travelling at Home

When staying in their own country, Canadians paid an average of $146 for hotel accommodations, which is only $7 less than a hotel room abroad, putting Canadians at ninth.

It was Swiss travellers who again paid the most at home, averaging $219 for a night domestically, followed by Norway in second place at $191 and Singapore in third at $189. 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 travellers from Thailand at $91, followed by those from Malaysia and India at $92 each.

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 $68 a night more on average when travelling abroad, followed by travellers from Thailand and India with a $63 variation.

Only seven nations paid more at home than away with travellers from Singapore once again with the greatest difference, spending $43 more domestically than abroad. The Swiss followed with a $31 variation and the Norwegians at $13 difference.

Prices Paid by Travellers Internationally vs. Domestically

Country/Region Away Home
1. Switzerland $188 $219
2. United States of America $179 $134
3. Norway $178 $191
4. Japan $175 $117
5. Argentina $175 $107
6. United Kingdom $175 $142
7. Brazil $173 $138
8. China $173 $113
9. Australia $172 $173
10. Sweden $171 $172
11. Russia $166 $155
12. New Zealand $164 $117
13. Denmark $159 $165
14. Colombia $158 $136
15. Austria $157 $125
16. Ireland $156 $118
17. India $155 $92
18. Thailand $154 $91
19. Canada $153 $146
20. Mexico $151 $125
21. South Korea $149 $144
22. Portugal $149 $97
23. Singapore $146 $189
24. Italy $146 $119
25. Hong Kong $145 $152
26. Finland $144 $144
27. France $143 $112
28. Germany $141 $120
29. Spain $141 $100
30. Netherlands $139 $128
31. Taiwan $134 $115
32. Malaysia $133 $92
chapter8

Wanderlust

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

Cure Your Wanderlust

There are infinite wonders to see and countless experiences to be had in Canada – our own backyard – and all over the world. With an 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 Michelin Three-Star Restaurants
1. Tokyo 14
2. Paris 10
3. New York City 7
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[1]. 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: $146

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 travellers. 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, visitors can sample their way through the local flavours of the country including dandan noodles, miso soup and sake.

Paris, France: $215

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.: $271

High-end: Michelin three-star restaurant, Le Bernardin screams “New York.” A midtown favourite, 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

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: $223

London boasts the most museums in the world – and some of the most popular[2]. 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: $129

Mexico City, Mexico
Trumpet player in Mariachi band
Second only to London in amount of museums, this city is full of culture everywhere you turn. 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.” 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.A.: $165

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[3]. 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

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.A: $151

Philadelphia, PA
676037.TIF
There are so many designer boutiques, jewelers and upscale clothing shops in Philly – thank goodness clothing tax[4] 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.

Bangkok, Thailand: $89

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

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

Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN, U.S.A.: $136

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. This access to fresh produce and outdoor activities makes it a healthy destination for visitors and locals alike.

San Jose, CA, U.S.A.: $90

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 at these farms with a welcoming community just a short drive from the city.

Honolulu, HI, U.S.A.: $220

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 before they even arrive.

Adventure

If you found yourself dreaming of training like an athlete during the Games in Sochi 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.A.: $107

If you’d like to experience a bobsled track or learn how to curl from certified instructors, look no further than Salt Lake City. Home of the 2002 Games, Salt Lake City 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.

Lake Placid, NY, U.S.A.: $176

Nestled in the scenic Adirondacks, Lake Placid offers an abundance of summer and winter outdoor activities, as well as a variety of Games activities. Visitors who come in the winter months can train like a biathlon athlete or attempt a ski/snowboard jump onto a giant airbag. The site of the 1980 Games offers a unique experience that includes a trail pass, equipment rental and lessons for only $55. Hockey fans can also relive the “Miracle on Ice” at the Olympic Center.[EU1]

Vancouver, BC, Canada: $148

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 Games 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

While some of the country’s largest music festivals like 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.A.: $111

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: $148

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.A.: $271

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.

[1] http://www.telegraph.co.uk/foodanddrink/6591946/Michelin-awards-Tokyo-most-3-star-restaurants-in-blow-to-Paris.html
[2] http://www.theguardian.com/culture/culture-cuts-blog/2012/aug/01/city-best-culture-research-numbers
[3] http://skift.com/2013/06/19/the-20-most-visited-museums-in-the-world-london-paris-dc-dominate/
[4] http://www.visitphilly.com/itineraries/philadelphia/shopping-in-philadelphia/

chapter9

Travel talk

Russian International Travel Monitor

RITM

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.

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

Taxi Infographic
hotels_US

London taxis have been voted the best taxis in the world for the sixth year in a row, according to the annual global taxi survey from Hotels.com. London secured 22% of the votes, a clear runaway winner, followed by New York with 10% and Tokyo with 9% in second and third place.

London’s iconic black cabs won nearly a quarter of the vote in the survey*, which also saw Berlin reclaim its position in the top five list in fourth place with 5%, and Madrid, Mexico City and Amsterdam tied for fifth with 4%.

Of the cities surveyed in Canada – Vancouver, Montreal and Toronto – the west coast came out on top for best overall rankings in categories that looked at value, cleanliness, quality of driving, friendliness and availability. Montreal, however, took the honours for best knowledge of the area and Toronto ranked first for safety.

Of the 30 countries surveyed, London topped the list across five of the seven categories, including cleanliness (23%), knowledge of the area (27%) and quality of driving (30%). While London cabs were also voted top for friendliness (23%), it was this category that was deemed the least important to travellers, meaning London’s friendly cabbies could be seen to put some punters off. Almost a quarter of respondents (23%) voted safety their number one priority when travelling by taxi, where London’s cabs also ranked highest.

New York and Bangkok taxis tied for first in terms of value for money (20%); interestingly, the latter didn’t quite make the overall top five this year. New York’s recognisable yellow taxis grabbed the top spot when it came to availability (23%).

The global Hotels.com taxi survey also revealed the world’s more obscure objects that travellers 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 behaviour, 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.

Canadian Brand Loyalty

How loyal are you? That’s what the travel experts at Hotels.com set out to determine with their Consumer Loyalty Survey*, which examined Canadian thoughts and behaviours toward brand loyalty programs. Well, the results are in and it turns out loyalty is too, with an impressive 86% of Canadians participating in a loyalty program.

Key Findings on Canadian Loyalty:

  • Most Canadians (73%) are conservative in the number of loyalty programs they join, committing to five or less.
  • The perks offered through loyalty programs were the primary draw for signups at 67%.
  • Speaking of perks, the favourite was free products/services at 75% with exclusive promotions trailing a distant second at 16%.
  • Grocery and drugstore chains had the highest brand loyalty at 58%, followed by travel services (airlines or hotels) at 15%.
  • Regardless of the program, most Canadians (63%) are not willing pay higher prices for goods or services in exchange for brand loyalty program benefits.
  • When it comes to travel, airline programs dominated with 52% of Canadians belonging to an air travel program, followed by hotel chains at 31%.
  • 17% of Canadians indicated they are members of an online travel loyalty program.

*The Hotels.com Consumer Loyalty Survey was distributed via SurveyMonkey and completed on September 26, 2013. The survey polled 730 Canadians across the country.

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 two, 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 thirdparty 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 favourites 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 localised 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.

Travellers can book online or by contacting one of the multilingual call centres. A portfolio of special apps for mobile phones and tablets can also be downloaded at http://ca.hotels.com/deals/mobile_ca/ 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

Lauren Wasley
energi PR for Hotels.com
lauren.wasley@energipr.com
416-425-9143 x19

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