Hotel prices on the rise in 2010

If you didn’t score your travel deal-of-the-year in 2008 or 2009, you’d better start planning for 2010. According to a report from American Express Business Travel, the economy is on the rebound and so are hotel room rates.

American Express released third quarter data from its Business Travel Monitor last week and if the index is correct, leisure travelers should start saving. While luxury hotel rates continue to decrease, the index shows a continual increase in mid-price, economy and budget tier hotels.

“Continued drop in demand has impacted both international and domestic hotel bookings,” said Christa Degnan Manning, director, eXpert insights, Global Advisory Services, American Express Business Travel. “However signs point to an increase in demand from the bottom up, where rates have notably increased up to seven percent in lower hotel tiers, driven by a positive up-tick in demand from travelers wanting to travel, yet doing so more cost-consciously.”

All that aside, there’s still plenty of room to score a hotel deal in the coming year.Before you book:

  • Always check the hotel promotions page to see what offers might fall during your stay. Don’t turn down a discount for a free meal, spa or hotel credits. You never know when you’re going to want room service and if for some reason your flight is delayed, a few hours at the spa won’t be so terrible.
  • Join a hotel loyalty program – Hotel loyalty programs are free and usually come with added perks like free in-room Internet access (which can save travelers up to $15 a day).
  • Ask, and you’ll likely receive – “Please” and “thank you” are two phrases that work very well in the hospitality industry. Ask politely for an upgrade when you check in. If there’s not one available, ask to be moved to a corner room (they are generally bigger).

The silver lining in all this? Seems spenders are feeling a little more optimistic about the economy, which is good news for the travel industry.