Auckland's hotels show up as global bargains

By Christopher Adams

Fancy a city break? New Zealanders could do worse than Auckland, where hotels rates have dropped to the world's third cheapest in an international survey.

With a drop of 24 per cent in a year because of the financial crisis, only Warsaw and Las Vegas could provide cheaper options than Auckland, the survey by hotels.com showed.

The survey canvassed 77 major cities and found average prices for Auckland rooms had dropped 24 per cent - from $174 in 2008 to $132 last year.

Rates around the world had fallen 14 per cent and the average price of a night in a hotel was cheaper last year than in 2004, according to the survey.

Hotels.com president David Roche said that despite some signs of hotel prices recovering from the recession, many bargains remained. "All indications are that 2010 promises to be another great year for the traveller."

On the other side of the Tasman, average hotel prices in Sydney and Melbourne also took a fall.

In Sydney, prices fell 18 per cent year-on-year to $190, while in Melbourne they dropped only 3 per cent, down to $155.

Jennie Langley, independent chairwoman of the New Zealand Hotel Council, urged caution over the survey's results.

She said they failed to take in to account the fact that most Auckland hotels used "dynamic pricing" - where prices changed from day to day.

Dynamic pricing took into account factors such as events happening in the city, and the season.

She said some of the 77 cities surveyed would have been in their high season, and others in their low season, which would skew the results.

"[The survey] is not really comparing apples with apples."

Ms Langley believed hotels across New Zealand had seen a 3 per cent fall in room rates over the past year.

But there were positive signs emerging for New Zealand hoteliers, with many hotels increasing sales of food, beverages and services, as well as accommodation, she said.

Asian visitors, particularly from Korea and Japan, were continuing to visit New Zealand, she said.

And, of course, next year's Rugby World Cup would provide Auckland hotels with some welcome revenue, although Ms Langley said prices would only go up to match what would be normal rates in European hotels.

"[Hotels] are in good shape. It's obviously going to be a tough year, but they're in good shape."

WHAT YOU PAY

Average hotel prices

Auckland
2008: $174
2009: $132

Sydney
2008: $224
2009: $190

New York
2008: $379
2009: $288

Paris
2008: $324
2009: $278

Source: Hotels.com Price Index

- NZ Herald

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