Hotel prices declining at slower rate’s regular look at global room night prices shows that the rate of decline is slowing but that  customers can still expect to find deals in the short to medium term.

Nigel Pocklington, vice pesident marketing and strategy,  told Travolution: “The balance will be in favour of the travellers for some time to come.”

Headline figures from the report showed that, in sterling terms, global hotel prices dropped by 14% during 2009 compared with 2008.

Quarterly comparisons show that the rate of decline is slowing – prices in the last three months of 2009 were 9% down year-on-year compared with 14% in Q3, 17% in Q2 and 16% in Q1.

“The finding that really stands out is the scale of the falls,” Pocklington said. “Hotel prices have effectively fallen to 2003 levels, and prices will not return to those levels overnight.”

Pocklington acknowledged that combining the findings of the index with Expedia Inc’s financial statements to Wall Street proved that there is still a strong demand for hotel stays if hoteliers were willing to price accordingly. ” The trend we’ve seen towards promotions will last,” he said.

And hotel supply generally is likely to increase over the next few years, he claimed. “There are lots of hotels under construction which were commissioned during the good times but which will open in the current climate. These new builds will have to price accordingly to stimulate demand.”

During the year, Expedia Inc introduced an agency programme for hotels, known as Expedia Easy Manage. This has been designed to help independent hotels in secondary destinations distribute inventory through all Expedia Inc brands.

Pocklington denied that having more cheaper hotels on its books had an impact of the findings. “These drops are bigger than just a shift in the category or star rating of our offer,” he said.

There are now more than 110,000 hotels bookable on Expedia. “Our acquisition plan is to bring on hotels across the board – all categories in all destinations,” Pocklington said.

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