Where to Travel? Hotel Rate Trends in Europe

Western Europe as a region has hotel rates only exceeded by Australia/Oceania and the Caribbean. Fortunately, there are all kinds of special rates for various places in Europe like IHG 2-for-1 rates and hotel points for reward nights can offer some of the best value worldwide.

STR Global July 2013 hotel industry data is used for my analysis of trends that may be helpful for travelers.

Europe Year-to-Date July 2013 vs July 2012

  • Eastern Europe $112.76 (-3.3% in rate for 2013; room occupancy up 3.3 % to 59.3%).
  • Northern Europe $123.22 (-2.6% in rate for 2013; room occupancy up 3.3 % to 71.4%).
  • Southern Europe $135.13 (+4.4% in rate for 2013; room occupancy up 1.2 % to 61.8%).
  • Western Europe $150.25 (+1.3% in rate for 2013; room occupancy up 0.7 % to 65.4%).

Trends I see:

Eastern Europe is one of the regions around the globe seeing a significant decline in room rates. Occupancy below 60% means there are plenty of empty rooms which likely accounts for the rate drops in 2013.

An interesting data point for Eastern Europe is lower hotel rates in July 2013 ($103.72) than the average rate year-to-date ($112.76). Room rates for July 2013 increased 2.9% from July 2012 ($100.80) indicating summer is the time to get better hotel deals in Eastern Europe. Occupancy was up 3.9% in July 2013 compared to July 2012.

Eastern Europe is Poland, Czech Republic Hungary and countries east, including Russia, Belarus and Ukraine.

Northern Europe is also experiencing room rate declines. There was a significant drop of 5.5% year-to-year with July 2013 rates at $126.16 down from $133.44 in July 2012. Occupancy is up across the region with a 5.4% increase to 80.4% occupancy for July 2013. Some of the rate drop might be due to currency exchange rate differences, but I have not looked into that possibility.

Bottom line is rates are dropping in USD and more room nights are being sold across the region with the highest hotel occupancy rate of any region in Europe at over 80% in July 2013 and over 71% year to date. 

Northern Europe includes the United Kingdom and Ireland along with Scandinavia, Iceland, and the Baltic countries of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

Southern Europe may be a financial disaster for the stock markets, but this does not seem to have impacted hotel rates. This is the Mediterranean region from Portugal to Turkey including the Balkan countries.

July 2012 to July 2013 saw a 10.8% room rate increase while occupancy this summer dropped from last year by 0.7%. Average room rates rose from $139.40 in July 2012 to $154.46 in July 2013.

The Year to date numbers show room rates rose 4.4% to $135.13 for 2013. Room occupancy increased slightly to 61.8%. These occupancy levels are only slightly higher than Eastern Europe and below Northern and Western Europe.

Western Europe is mainland Europe including France, Benelux countries, Switzerland, Austria and Germany. July 2013 showed good growth in room rate compared to July 2012 with 4.9% increase in room rates to $142.07. Occupancy though was nearly flat with only 0.5% increase to 69.8% of hotel rooms filled in July 2013. Western Europe is another region where the July 2013 summer rates are lower than the seven month average. This makes western Europe a better deal for summer vacationers despite the 5% increase in rates from July 2012.

Year-to-date for Western Europe shows only a slight increase in rates compared to the first seven months of 2012 with rates climbing 1.3% to $150.25 for 2013. Hotel occupancy is 65.4% year to date, but July 2013 in peak tourist season saw room occupancy up to 69.8%. Rates increased quite a bit for summer 2013 compared to last summer. Still, more rooms were filled than in 2012.

Lower rates in the UK for July 2013 compared to 2012, the year of the London Olympics, may be a major factor in the rate drops for 2013. That can’t be determined without country specific data.

One certainty is Southern Europe is still a hot spot for tourism with the fastest rising rates in Europe despite a slight drop in hotel room occupancy in July 2013.

  • Eastern Europe has lowest average hotel rates.
  • Southern Europe has highest average hotel rates in summer.
  • Western Europe has highest average room rates overall, but rates in summer are seasonally lower than rest of year.
  • Northern Europe is confusing with UK and Ireland mixed in with Scandinavia. The volume of room nights in UK alone makes it hard to detect overall trends with data including Scandinavia and Baltic countries.

Ric Garrido, writer and owner of Loyalty Traveler, shares news and views on hotels, hotel loyalty programs and vacation destinations for frequent guests.

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About Ric Garrido

Ric Garrido of Monterey, California started Loyalty Traveler in 2006 for traveler education on hotel and air travel, primarily using frequent flyer and frequent guest loyalty programs for bargain travel. Loyalty Traveler joined in 2008.

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  1. Ric what are IHG 2 for 1 rates? I will be staying 4 nights in Berlin next month. Do you get 2 nights for the “price” of one?

  2. Ridiculous average stats. I’ve been traveling around Northern Europe and Eastern Europe this summer. I also have rooms booked in Georgia, Turkey and Italy. As for Northern & Eastern Europe – all is not uniform. Ukraine’s rates are very high. Much higher than you would think for an Eastern European country. Poland’s are very low. The Baltics were very high. And mostly sold out. Georgia is also moderately high (average). Turkey is absolutely insane (ie., high!). Italy seems reasonable, for Italy in the summer that is.

    These average stats don’t mean a thing – what are the averages for 4 and 5 star hotels? Are they up or down… or is the lower stars dragging down the averages. Or vice versa.

  3. @Hilde – Yes two nights for price of one on Best Flexible Rate.

    The link in this post works. You need to use the drop-down menu for rate type and you will see the 2-for-1 rate offer.

    Another great thing about 2-for-1 rates are room types often include suites.

  4. @Shane – Average rates across several countries is limited data. STR Global makes its money selling data reports. Breakdowns by market segment in a specific city or country is data that can be purchased.

    I made a simple analysis from some broad range data available for free to see what trends I could find in the numbers.

  5. @Shane: +1
    Hotel values in Poland are amazing, especially in Warsaw. Four days ago I spent in Warsaw’s Radisson Blue two nights (2-for-1 rate) paying the total of $85 for a comfortable business room with great breakfast included.
    @ Hilde: Club Carlson’s 2-for-1 offer worked for me in Berlin in late July as well; link:

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