Mumbai: After three years of flat prices, accommodation prices rose 2 per cent globally in 2017, according to the latest Hotel Price Index (HPI) from Hotels.com. In a year where cryptocurrencies flooded the market, hashtags took over the red carpet and political debate turned well, political, the needle also moved for travellers, with a two-point rise in the global Index to 116, the closest it has been to the 2007 peak of 118.
Every regional Index, except for North America, grew in 2017, signalling strong growth in the travel industry.The HPI was set at 100 in its inaugural year, 2004. The index format allows Hotels.com to highlight year-on-year variations in actual prices paid per night by travellers without foreign exchange fluctuations distorting the picture.
Johan Svanstrom, President, Hotels.com, said, “The slight increase in averageaccommodation prices globally combined with numerous markets having record visitor growth signals a strong travel economy and a growing desire from consumers to experiencethe world. Cultural events have inspired travel more than ever before as we aspire not to juststand by and observe the action, but to instead actually be part of it.”
Due to the implementation of new economic policies and GST in 2017, which introduced multiple tax slabs to cover different hotel categories, Indian hotel prices have witnessed an increase for the year. Owing to the swelling Indian travel and tourism industry, it’s not all doom and gloom when it comes to accommodation prices domestically and globally. The HPI 2017 also revealed that despite the overall price increase for accommodation globally, outbound Indian travellers paid less per room per night in six of the top 10 (USA, UK, Malaysia, Germany, Indonesia and Italy) outbound destinations.
This could be caused by the strong performance of the Rupee in 2017, which rose 5.5 per cent against the US dollar in 2017.The strong Pound – Indian Rupee (GBP/INR) exchange rate has shown that Indians continue to spend the most on accommodation in UK but interestingly, travellers paid a notable 6 per cent less per room per night in UK vis-à-vis 2016.
New Destinations Find their way to Indian itineraries
The HPI data also shows the evolving trend towards experiential travel and exploring new cities among Indian travellers, with a growing preference for destinations such as Edinburgh (UK) and Zurich (Switzerland) that made surprise entries into top 50 most popular outbound destinations, clocking in at positions 47 and 50 respectively.
Doha (Qatar) saw a jump of 45 places to 62nd position, Milwaukee (USA) saw a jump of 39 places to land at 89th position and Foshan (China) saw a substantial jump of 69 places, securing a position in the top 100 destinations for Indian travellers.
The latest HPI also saw Indian travellers reiterating their travel preference to perennial short-haul destinations in Asia Pacific such as Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia. The top 10 popular outbound cities for Indian travellers was dominated by Asia-Pacific cities like Bangkok, Singapore, Pattaya, Bali, Kuala Lampur and Hong Kong. The bucket saw little change since 2016, except Kuala Lumpur which made its way to the top 10, after a close miss last year. The most popular beach getaway of the country, Goa, also secured a position in the top five cities among inbound and domestic travellers.
Jessica Chuang, Director, Regional Marketing, Greater China, SEA and India, Hotels.com, said, “Travel and tourism has been one of the major contributors to the overall Indian economy and has subsequently witnessed added focus from both private and public sector bodies. Accommodation being a chief component for any travel plan, be it leisure or business, has seen a spike in not just emergence of new players but also renewed zeal from existing brands and this seems to have been paying off.”
She added, “Keeping a pulse on what makes travellers – Indian and global – tick is something we at Hotels.com take extremely seriously. Year-on-year, HPI has helped us understand which destinations customers are willing to spend on, and this helps us align ourselves better to cater to their needs.”
“It was encouraging to observe that average daily price paid for both domestic and inbound segments for the India market saw positive movement reinforcing the fact that India is a popular destination across global traveller demographic.”
In addition to the great value destinations and hidden gems found in the HPI, travellers who haven’t padded their wallets with cryptocurrency yet can take advantage of programmes like Hotels.com Rewards, which lets them earn free nights and get access to instant savings like Secret Prices. Secret Prices are lower rates that aren’t available to everyone and offer up to 50 per cent off thousands of properties in popular destinations every day.