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August 21, 2006 08:00 ET

Expedia.ca: Despite Stronger Loonie, Canadian Hotels Offer Best Value for Canadian Travellers This Summer

Expedia.ca Hotel Price Index shows increase in Canadian purchasing power tempered by rising hotel prices in major U.S. cities

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - Aug. 21, 2006) - Canadians making last-minute summer travel plans and looking to get the most bang for their Loonie should consider staying north of the border, the Expedia.ca Hotel Price Index reveals. The study, looking at average hotel prices paid in the top 15 Canadian destinations in July 2006, showed that while the rising Canadian dollar has empowered Canadians to increase travel to U.S. destinations this summer, the best values for hotel accommodations can be found here at home. Cities like Toronto, Montreal or Vancouver can save Canadians between $19 and $108 (all prices Canadian) per night over similar accommodations in San Francisco, Chicago or New York. Compared to July 2005, increased demand in selected U.S. destinations has resulted in room rate increases of as much as 45 per cent, significantly higher than price increases seen at Canadian hotels over the same period.

"Hotel stays represent one of the biggest expenses required to make a rewarding vacation," said Sean Shannon, managing director, Expedia.ca. "Although Canadians are clearly travelling to the United States to take advantage of the stronger Loonie, when it comes to hotel pricing in some of the major American cities, even better deals can be found at hotels right here in Canada."

Expedia.ca Hotel Price Index Findings

The Expedia.ca Hotel Price Index is an accurate gauge of trends in the hotels industry by tracking actual prices paid for hotel rooms, in all star categories, booked on Expedia.ca from its worldwide inventory. Looking at the 15 Canadian cities with the highest number of hotel bookings, the study reveals that prices of many Canadian hotel rooms in the month of July 2006 were very good value. Compared to July 2005, most saw only a slight price increase or remained flat while several even experienced significant declines:

- Montreal and Quebec average costs per night have actually decreased by 8 and 7 per cent to $169.02 and $181.49 respectively over last July, while tourist hotspot Niagara Falls experienced a price decrease of 5 per cent to $162.07; this comes as tourist demand in each city remains strong

- Top destination Toronto still offers very competitive pricing, as average cost per night in July fell by one per cent to $167.08

- The most affordable hotel rooms in the 15 most frequently booked Canadian cities were found in Edmonton, which averaged $131.64 per night; Toronto airport hub Mississauga, which averaged $119.38 per night; and Etobicoke, which averaged $113.64 per night.

Demand Pushes Up Average Price of Hotels in Select U.S. Cities

Despite the Canadian dollar gaining six cents on the U.S. dollar from July 2005 to July 2006, higher prices and significant increases at hotels in five selected popular U.S. cities indicate that Canadians' buying power is still stronger at home. Four of the five selected U.S. cities had average costs per night exceeding $200, with San Francisco being the most affordable at $186.74. Strong demand this summer resulted in the biggest increases in Chicago and Seattle, where average costs per night have increased 45 and 43 per cent to $252.47 and $206.65 respectively, compared to July 2005. Prices paid for hotel rooms in San Francisco and Boston in July 2006 rose 30 and 29 per cent to $186.74 and $242.34, respectively. New York, typically one of the most expensive cities to stay in North America, saw a relatively small increase of 13 per cent to $275.62 per night.

Checking In to Canadian Hotel Prices

Average hotel room prices in many Canadian cities remained relatively flat over the past year while several cities in the top 15 saw some hotel room price increases, though not as significant as in selected U.S. cities. Boomtown Calgary, home of the July Stampede and Alberta's business centre, leads the pack with a 26 per cent increase in average room cost per night over the past year, with an average room price paid of $160.86. Other major movers from July 2005 to July 2006 were:

- Strong demand led to an increase in average costs per night at B.C. cities Richmond and Whistler of 15 and 12 per cent to $161.68 and 176.58, respectively

- Hotel prices paid at tourist towns Halifax and Ottawa rose over last year, increasing 15 per cent to $185.10 and 11 per cent to $135.95, respectively

- Other popular cities showed smaller increases in nightly room costs

- Victoria, BC (up 5 per cent to $181.79)

- Vancouver, BC (up 4 per cent to $210.09)

- Edmonton, AB (up 4 per cent to $131.64)

- Banff, AB (up 2 per cent to $241.48)

Suburban Savings

The Expedia.ca Hotel Price Index confirmed that hotels in suburban areas like Etobicoke, Mississauga and Richmond are a great way to save money over downtown hotels in Toronto or Vancouver. Travellers to the Greater Toronto Area could save an average of 32 per cent by paying an average of $113.64 at hotels in Etobicoke or 28 per cent by booking for $119.38 at a Mississauga hotel. Vancouver visitors could save an average of 23 per cent by paying just $161.68 to stay at hotels in Richmond. Most four- and five- star hotels are located in the city centres, so many travellers may have to move down a star when looking to stay at a suburban hotel.

"As the summer travel season heads into its last few weeks, many Canadians can still take advantage of attractive hotel prices in cities like Montreal, Niagara Falls or Edmonton by using Expedia.ca's Your Amazing Summer Vacation planning pages," continued Shannon. "We expect the upswing in Canadians travelling cross-country and abroad to continue right through to Fall, so travellers should research and book their hotel and trip earlier than normal to ensure they get what they're looking for."

About the Expedia.ca Hotel Price Index

The Expedia.ca Hotel Price Index (HPI) is a regular survey of leisure hotel prices paid by Expedia.ca customers in major city destinations in Canada and the United States:

- The HPI tracks the price paid per room for hotels in all star categories in major Canadian and international cities

- Over a thousand hotels in more than 270 locations make up the sample of Canadian hotels from which prices are taken

- The prices included in the survey are set by hoteliers, and are based on prices actually paid by customers (rather than advertised rates), to provide an accurate reflection of market rates for hotel prices for the period

- Expedia's international scale (in terms of customers and destinations) makes the HPI one of the most comprehensive benchmarks available as it incorporates both chain and independent hotels.

About Expedia Canada Corp.

Expedia Canada Corp., a subsidiary of Expedia, Inc., operates Canada's most visited full-service online travel service, Expedia.ca. To help Canadians plan and purchase travel, Expedia.ca provides the best combination of scheduled and charter flights, car and hotel reservations, vacation packages, destination activities, trip insurance and mapping information. Expedia.ca customers are supported by customer support agents available 24 hours a day, seven days a week via a toll-free number and email response.

Contact Information

  • For more information or to arrange an interview
    with an Expedia.ca spokesperson, please contact:
    Edelman
    Lisa Bruce
    (416) 979-1120 x 313
    lisa.bruce@edelman.com