After three years, prices travelers paid for overnight accommodations rose 2 percent globally in 2017, according to the latest Hotels.com Hotel Price Index (HPI). The global index rose two points to 116, the closest it has been to the 2007 peak of 118.
"The slight increase in average accommodation prices globally, combined with numerous markets having record visitor growth, has signaled a strong travel economy and a growing desire from consumers to experience the world," said Johan Svanstrom, president of Hotels.com, in a written statement. "Cultural events have inspired travel more than ever before as we aspire not to just stand by and observe the action, but to instead actually be a part of it. "
In the U.S., more citizens have a passport than ever before, and as a result they are looking to get out and experience the world, despite an increase in prices paid for hotel stays.
A few of the study's key findings:
- Las Vegas was the most popular destination for U.S. domestic travel as visitors continued to flock to Sin City for leisure and conventions
- New York City was the second most popular U.S. domestic location despite relatively high average prices paid
- Next on the list of "Most Popular Domestic Destinations for American Travelers" include Orlando (ranked 3rd), San Diego (ranked 4th) and Chicago (ranked 5th)
- The largest average price drops for overnight stays for international visitors were in Chicago, Honolulu and Philadelphia, all decreasing by 4 percent since 2016
- London was the most popular international spot for U.S. travelers, followed by Paris, Toronto, Tokyo and Rome
- Thailand was the most popular country in Asia for U.S. travelers
- Americans found the largest average price increase in Lisbon at 13 percent and the largest average price drop in Dubai with a decrease of 6 percent
Sunshine South of the Border – Mexico
There is no doubt that travelers are looking to relax and enjoy the sunshine while on vacation, Hotels.com said. Cancun, Playa Del Carmen and Mexico City were the top destinations in Mexico for U.S. travelers. Among the cities analyzed, Americans traveling to Mexico paid the most for rooms in Playa Del Carmen– which had an average price of $247 per night – an increase of 2 percent from 2016.
Americans Flocked Across the Pond
With more than 40 percent of Americans traveling overseas in 2017, Europe topped the charts for the most desirable outbound region and London was first on the list of international destinations. Despite the high prices, the capital's long-standing appeal as a bucket-list city got some help from the pound – which has brought average accommodation prices down by 2 percent since 2016.
Travelers had fiestas in Spain, which became the second-most visited country in the world, and sixth for U.S. travelers in 2017 with an average of $163 per night. Americans looking to explore without breaking the bank found the best value in Istanbul, paying on average of $92 per night.
Stretching the Budget in Asia
U.S. travelers found themselves paying more for their overnight accommodations in 70 percent of their Top 50 international destinations, but not in Asia. The HPI reported that Chiang Mai (ranked 49th), Ho Chi Minh City (ranked 34th) and Bangkok (ranked 5th) had the lowest international average prices paid per night - all averaging below $100 per night. Thailand was the most popular country in the region for U.S. travelers, welcoming 35 million visitors in 2017.