Hotel prices rose in first half of 2011, HRG study finds" alt="" width="299" height="199" align="right" class="newsArticleImage">

The majority of hotels worldwide have been able to increase their prices in the first half of the year, according to a new study.

Travel management company Hogg Robinson Group found that rates rose by 4% in the six months to June over the same period last year.

Of the 50 cities surveyed, 33 reported a year-on-year increase in hotel rates with strong growth in Asia and an unexpected boost from cities such as Istanbul.?

Overall global growth would have been higher had cities in Africa and Eastern Europe not reported decreases over the last six months.

The study showed that more than two-thirds of the cities surveyed were seeing rate growth compared with only a quarter of cities last year, supporting signs of global recovery and pick-up in business travel in recent months.

Moscow retained its position as the city with the highest hotel rates at more than £260 a night, despite a modest rate increase in local currency and sterling. The Russian capital bounced back from last year’s 12% decrease despite many new hotel openings, demonstrating the city’s position as a strong business destination.

But UK cities reported weak hotel rates when compared to the previous year, in spite of a boost from the?January VAT increase.? Hotels in the Heathrow area reported strong growth but many other cities such as Liverpool showed a drop in rates.

Istanbul achieved the highest hotel rate rise of 37% due to growing interest in the city as a business destination. Travellers to Istanbul are also conscious of its security issues and more inclined to stay in five-star accommodation, according to HRG.

Asia Pacific was the strongest performing region, with average room rates rising by 7% due to a concentration of hotel development and financial centres including Hong Kong and Singapore.

North American destinations finished the first half of the year with an overall 4% rate increase in local currency. All destinations reported growth in local currency with the exception of Los Angeles, Toronto and Montreal which were flat.

HRG group commercial director Stewart Harvey said: “Yet again our survey indicates how important it is for clients to keep control of their hotel programmes and drive volumes to maximise returns.?

“Despite the fact that many large companies have put in place travel restrictions and cost reductions, hotel rates in the majority of cities surveyed increased. Demand is driving the rate.”

“We can expect hotel rates to continue to rise as more economies grow and business demand picks up. During this time it is critical for clients looking to minimise travel spend to work with us to negotiate fair hotel rates.”

The TMC's global hotel relations director Margaret Bowler added: “The shift from Europe to Asia in hotel rate growth is significant in that it demonstrates changing business priorities.?

“The rates demonstrate that demand has increased for travel to emerging regions as a result of the need to do business and that travellers are willing to pay higher hotel costs during their stay. Outside of Asia, Istanbul in particular has come out with strong r