Another price that’s rising: The cost of a night in a hotel
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The rising cost of food, shelter and medical care were factors in pushing the Labor Department’s consumer and producer price indexes four tenths percent higher in September. Another factor? The rising cost of a night in a hotel.
The hotel industry is still being affected by a lot of familiar pandemic problems, said Heather Rozman, CEO of the Hotel Association of Los Angeles.
“Like everybody else, we’re subject to the laws of supply, demand, cost of goods,” she said.
For instance, Rozman said a lot of hotels are still having a hard time securing supplies, like, towels.
“Having those fresh linens and towels ready for guests has become just an interesting result of some of the supply chain issues,” she said.
And then, there’s labor. Like a lot of industries, hotels are having trouble finding staff.
That can force a hotel to take rooms out of service.
“That would decrease the supply of available rooms to rent. And again, that supply-demand offset is going to change rates,” Rozman said.
Demand is playing a big role in hotel pricing too, said Dan Wasiolek, an analyst at Morningstar.
“People are employed, like to travel. There is some aspect that the remote work flexibility — that that allows for some incremental travel as well,” he said.
All of that puts upward pressure on hotel prices. As of the end of last month, Wasiolek said average daily hotel rates have more than doubled since 2019.
Hotel occupancy still hasn’t quite caught up yet. But … “occupancy could maybe be a little bit higher, if there was labor to, kind of, satisfy that demand,” Wasiolek said.
Demand could start to ease off. John Dekker runs an agency called Surf City Travel. He said in the last couple months, some of his clients have started to think twice about staying at fancier places, like hotels right on the beach.
“So they’ve asked and said well, ‘Can I stay a block or two further back, then.’ At a different property, just at a lower price, but still in the same town,” he said.
Part of what’s holding people back, Dekker said, is that other travel costs have been rising, too, especially airfares.
“As a travel agent, I still avoid selling the basic economy fares, but I’ve had people asking for those lately. And I’ve never had that before,” he said.
Dekker added that a lot of his clients are simply waiting to book their trips until they have a better sense of where the economy is headed.
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