Tourism Industry News
Business Travelers Taking Shorter Trips
The average length of hotel stay by customers of the travel management company HRG UK plummeted in 2008 from 1.9 nights to 1.5 nights. HRG attributes the fall to businesses finding ways to rein in their travel budgets, including pressuring travelers to make their trips shorter.
The big change emerges in HRG's twice-yearly hotel report, published today. The report reveals that average rates rose in most cities when 2008 is considered in its entirety. However, quarter-by-quarter analysis shows rates steadying and in some cases falling in the fourth quarter. Major cities that registered fourth-quarter declines included Amsterdam, Hong Kong, New York and Paris. London grew in October and November but fell in September and December.
Some cities continued to fare well throughout 2008, especially in the Middle East. Rates paid by HRG UK clients in Abu Dhabi rose 26 percent in local currency, a higher jump than any other destination. Hotel development has come a little later than in Dubai, where a rash of new supply led to a 2 percent fall. However, other Gulf states, including Oman, Bahrain and Qatar, all recorded significant rate growth. Elsewhere, Mumbai grew strongly, up 18 percent, and the strongest performer in the United States was Houston, up 19 percent to $167.
HRG director of global hotel relations Margaret Bowler warned that buyers should not expect dramatic rate reductions even in cities where occupancy is falling. "Contrary to what many may expect, hotels are not slashing prices," she said. "Instead, the majority are adopting a sensible long-term strategy to offer value rather than significant price cuts to maintain their share of the market."
Bowler added that last room availability is becoming a common feature after disappearing almost completely at the height of the seller's market in 2006 and 2007.