If you felt like you were forking over more money for hotels last year, it wasn’t your imagination.
The cost of hotel rooms in North America increased by the biggest percentage since 1985 — and they’re expected to keep climbing in 2015, according to hospitality-industry experts.
The average cost of a hotel room increased 8.3%, to $74, last year, according to STR Global, a hospitality-industry research firm. That’s the second-biggest annual jump that’s ever been recorded by the industry, according to STR, behind only 1985’s 8.6% increase.
And, unfortunately, we shouldn’t expect that trend to change.
The North American Hospitality Review predicts that room charges will rise another 4.5% in 2015. And STR’s projection is even rosier for hoteliers — and pricier for all of us. They say hotel rates will be up 6.4% this year and another 5.9% in 2016.
But, what goes up is supposed to come down, right? Why do experts think hotel costs will continue spiking after such a big leap last year?
It’s because we appear to be traveling more and more. Most hotels are having no trouble filling rooms, so they don’t have any real reason to slash their prices.
STR says that of the 1.8 billion North American rooms available over last year’s 365 days, 1.1 billion of them were filled, raking in $133 billion in revenue for hoteliers.
Only 5.8% of the hotels the group surveyed saw occupancy go down in 2014.
Despite the trend, there are still some ways to get a cheap hotel room.
Booking weeks in advance, even upward of a month, will generally get you a better rate than doing so just days before. Oddly enough, the opposite can also be true.
If you call hotels at the last minute, you can sometimes find them willing to fill empty rooms for a lower price, especially if you’re willing to negotiate for it.
Searching the web for “[hotel name] + promo” will sometimes turn up promotional codes you can enter online for better rates.
And don’t forget to see if your various affiliations — from AAA to AARP to military to student — can get you a discount.
It also may be worth pursuing one of the best hotel credit cards, many of which offer perks, discounts and even free lodging from time to time.
Image via iStock.