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Hotels.com Hotel Price Index 2016
West Lulworth, United Kingdom
  • The UK is Buzzing

UK Domestic and Inbound travel: Solid value for visitors and staycationers

With prices rising across so many international destinations for UK travellers, there was more positive news for those who decided to stay at home. In the top 40 most popular domestic destinations, any price increases were kept below 10% and, in several cases, prices even fell slightly. However, in the country as a whole, domestic hotel stays were 4% higher per night on average in 2016, when compared to 2015.

Given the dramatic weakening of the Pound during the latter half of the year, the UK in 2016 should have seemed like a golden travel opportunity for most holidaymakers and business trip takers, particularly those from countries with strengthening currencies, such as Japan and the USA. However, the reality was somewhat different: even though overall visitor numbers to the UK were still tracking higher in the first 10 months of the year, figures for holidaymakers were down and overseas visitors paid 7% more on average per hotel night compared to 2015.

  • Most popular domestic destination: London
  • Largest average price increase: Inverness at +9%
  • Largest average price drop: Aberdeen at -15%
  • Most popular destination for international visitors: London
  • Largest average price increase: Manchester, Liverpool, Southampton and Birmingham all at +11%
  • Largest average price drop: Aberdeen at -21%

What UK travellers paid in their top 40 domestic destinations

  • Domestic travel remained good value as 30 of the top 40 UK-based destinations had average rates of less than £100 per night.
  • Even though London continued to be the most popular destination in the country, UK travellers paid less to stay there in 2016, helped by slightly lower occupancy rates. Among other events, the city’s tourism appeal was boosted by hosting many of the Rugby World Cup fixtures in October 2015, an event which also positively impacted results in other UK cities such as Newcastle-upon-Tyne and Cardiff.
  • Bath was the destination in the top 40 where UK travellers paid the most, following a modest rise. Conversely, it was Blackpool, Coventry and Derby where UK travellers paid the least.
  • Aberdeen experienced the highest percentage decrease in its average hotel prices as the ongoing softness in investment in the oil industry continued to impact enterprises in the North Sea.
  • Inverness, the gateway to the Scottish highlands, saw the highest percentage increase, followed by Cheltenham.
  • In the university stakes, UK travellers continued to pay less to stay in Cambridge versus Oxford, in spite of a slight rise in Cambridge’s average room rates.

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Average nightly hotel prices paid by UK travellers in their 20 most popular domestic destinations in 2016
Average prices paid per night by travellers from the UK in selected UK destinations in 2016 compared with 2015

What international travellers paid in their top 20 UK destinations

  • When comparing averages paid by inbound travellers to the UK with the domestic market, HPI data shows that visitors generally pay more for their hotel rooms than British guests and that remained the case in 2016, with a difference of £12 a night on average. This can be attributed to exchange rate factors and the calibre and location of hotels that visitors tend to choose.
  • Compared with 2015, price averages rose in 16 out of the top 20 UK destinations.
  • London remained the most popular UK destination for international visitors to the UK with Edinburgh in second place.
  • In the top 20, international travellers paid the least in Aberdeen as prices in the Scottish city fell by more than 20% following the downturn in the North Sea oil industry. Newcastle-upon-Tyne and Leeds had the next lowest averages overall.
  • Manchester, Liverpool, Southampton and Birmingham recorded the highest double-digit increases, but it was in Oxford, London and Bath where international travellers paid the most, as all three experienced rising average prices.

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Download the full list of 20 cities analysed

Average nightly hotel prices paid in the 20 most popular destinations for visitors to the UK in 2016
“The weaker British Pound didn’t produce the expected rush of international visitors looking to take advantage of their increased purchasing power, as average hotel prices generally rose in 2016. However, there were still plenty of opportunities for international travellers to find great hotel accommodation deals throughout the UK and enjoy their bonus spending money.” – Isabelle Pinson, Vice President, EMEA for Hotels.com brand
Average prices paid per night by international visitors in selected UK destinations in 2016 compared with 2015
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