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For Business, Corporate Travel & Meeting Buyers & Arrangers

Moscow tops rate league

MOSCOW'S HOTELS have once again emerged as the business world's most expensive. According to Hogg Robinson Group's annual survey, corporates last year paid an eye-watering average of £303.35 per overnight in the Russian capital.

Not only is that more than £80 more expensive than hotels in second-placed New York, where rooms averaged out just shy of £223 a night, it was also a whopping 22 per cent increase on 2007. Although demand and availability have an effect on hotel prices, Margaret Bowler, HRG's director of global hotel relations, suggests the real culprit is the weakening pound.

In all but one of the 10 most expensive cities, the sterling price increase far outstrips the local currency rise. In only one instance - in Dubai - did prices fall.

"There is no doubt that this is a challenging time for corporate travellers and hoteliers, and the fluctuating exchange rate has had a significant impact on the UK corporate traveller," says Bowler.

There may be some relief on the way, however. In global terms, she observes, rates have flattened recently, giving corporates greater scope for negotiation.

"During industry boom periods, hotels often denied bookers access to corporate rates in favour of more lucrative options. This trend has now reversed and as occupancy levels balance out, corporates will gain greater access to negotiated rates," Bowler predicts.

"In parallel, as hoteliers seek to maintain rates, corporate travellers will increasingly be able to secure value-added services as part of their rates.

NIGHTS TO FORGET - THE WORLD'S PRICIEST HOTELS
  2008
rate
2007
rate
Sterling
variance
Local
variance
Moscow £303.35 £249.38 +22% +9%
New York £222.97 £193.47 +15% +7%
Paris £200.16 £172.33 +16% =
Mumbai £196.38 £162.76 +21% +18%
Abu Dhabi £191.47 £140.75 +36% +26%
Milan £190.72 £165.92 +15% -1%
Geneva £183.24 £144.90 +26% +5%
Dubai £182.94 £186.97 -2% -9%
Stockholm £178.64 £161.16 +11% -1%
Zurich £178.23 £149.97 +19% -1%