Rise in popularity and return of leisure travel helps bolster hotel price increases along the West Coast. Hotels.com found that West Coast cities saw an average hotel price increase of 8.6 percent compared to the 4.4 percent of those on the East Coast.
DALLAS – The West Coast is on the rise in popularity and average hotel prices reflect this trend as revealed in the latest data from the Hotels.com Hotel Price Index (HPI). When comparing 10 major cities on each coast, Hotels.com found that West Coast cities saw an average hotel price increase of 8.6 percent compared to the 4.4 percent of those on the East Coast.
The HPI tracks real prices paid per room by Hotels.com customers at approximately 140,000 properties within the Hotels.com network in major destinations around the world. This edition of the report, which compares the first six months of 2012 with the same period in 2011, shows an upward trend in hotel prices across all global regions, resulting in an average global increase of 4 percent. This is the first time in five years that Hotels.com has seen an increase across the globe.
“We first saw business travel regain strength as the economy started to rebound a few years ago, and as a result we saw the travel industry in cities like New York City, Washington, D.C., and Boston recover first,” said Victor Owens, vice president, Hotels.com North America. “We are now seeing the West Coast following suit as it shows about a 4 percent greater increase on average as a whole over the East Coast so far this year.”
Known for its casual lifestyle, regular celebrity spottings, and abundance of sunshine and beaches, the Golden State saw hotel prices increase 7 percent in the first half of 2012. Seaside destinations such as Monterey and Santa Barbara, which boost numerous attractions including golf courses, wine tours, and a variety of other recreational activities, are seeing leisure travelers return to their streets. These towns saw prices rise 10 and 15 percent, respectively. San Diego, which currently has eight new hotels in its pipeline, saw a modest 6 percent increase and is a growing West Coast destination for both domestic and international travelers alike. The city overtook Chicago to become the fourth most popular domestic destination among Americans and the eighth most popular destination among international visitors to the States.
The Aloha State, which suffered a decline in visitors due to the recession and Japanese tsunami, is rebounding fast as the island greets increased Japanese and mainland U.S. leisure visitors. This tropical paradise saw prices increase 17 percent in the first half of 2012. Perhaps the large increase in hotel prices paid can be attributed to the island of Oahu where prices rose an unprecedented 70 percent. The state’s capital Honolulu (on Oahu), which was the seventh most popular U.S. destination for foreign visitors, boasted a 17 percent increase in hotel prices. Neighboring islands, Maui and the Island of Hawaii (also known as the Big Island) saw moderate price increases of 5 and 9 percent, respectively. The island of Kauai witnessed price increases including the island’s up-and-coming destinations of Lihue (up 16 percent) and Koloa (up 18 percent).
Increased Brazilian and Chinese Visitors
As the United States eases visa restrictions for Brazilian and Chinese visitors, the West Coast is starting to reap the benefits. Cities such as Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle are seeing an influx of Brazilian and Chinese visitors coming for business and leisure travel. With larger expendable incomes, emerging middle classes and rapidly growing economies, these foreign visitors are coming for business and tying in leisure travel during their stays. Brazilians and Chinese visitors are some of the largest spenders when they visit the U.S. especially when shopping retail. Many find that due to large import taxes in their home countries it’s more affordable to come to the U.S. to shop and return home with these big purchases. San Francisco, a gateway to Northern California and a large economic and business hub, saw prices increase a substantial 13 percent. Los Angeles and Seattle also saw hotel prices increase 5 percent.