Want to avoid surging European hotel prices? Try these countries

May 27, 2022

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Hotel prices may be skyrocketing across Europe, but there are still countries where you can pick up a bargain.

As we revealed on Wednesday, the average cost of a hotel room has already surpassed pre-pandemic prices across much of Europe. And it is showing little signs of slowing before the end of the year.

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As a result, Hotels in the U.K., Ireland, Italy, Spain and Portugal have driven up their rates in response to a surge in holidaymakers desperate to take some time away after two years of travel restrictions.

As one expert told us, hospitality has gone from a buyer’s market towards the end of last year, to a stage where hotels now hold all the pricing power.

Related: European hotels prices are rocketing — here’s where they’re rising the most

“The pandemic saw a major downturn in demand for hospitality,” said John Hobbs-Hurrell, head of Advantage Global Network — part of the U.K.’s largest independent travel agent group Advantage Travel Partnership. “But now a lot of [hotels] are welcoming back travellers, be they leisure or corporate, and in response to the fact they’ve had a period of retraction, it’s time to push those rates up.”

However, there are some countries where hotel rates are not climbing so quickly, while some have seen their average day rate (ADR) for a hotel room fall. 

Where are hotel prices actually falling?

Country

Dates

Occupancy (%)

ADR

ADR % change

France May 2019 74.6 £197.49 -14.9%
May 2022 67.5 £168.43
Poland May 2019 82.0 £65.37 -10.2%
May 2022 72.8 £58.69
Denmark May 2019 76.2 £127.58 -9.5%
May 2022 52.4 £115.48
Sweden May 2019 78.9 £119.51 -1.4%
May 2022 71.1 £117.81
Germany May 2019 81.0 £92.36 +1.5%
May 2022 72.0 £93.81

Source: STR

Surprisingly, France is the country with the greatest drop in ADR, having fallen by a whopping 14.1% since May 2019, according to new data from the global hospitality analytics company STR.

But before you rush to brush up on your s’il vous plaît and mercis, remember that France is still one of the most expensive European countries to book a hotel. It’s just cheaper than it was before.

There, a hotel room currently averages £168.43 per night — more than any other country sampled by STR.

The cheapest place to stay, perhaps unsurprisingly, is Poland, where the average price of a room has dropped from £65.37 to £58.69, a reduction of 10.2%.

The cheapest place to stay is Poland, where the average price of a room has dropped from £65.37 to £58.69 (image of the Motlawa river in Gdansk by Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

It is the same story for most eastern European destinations, according to Hobbs-Hurrell. This is largely down to the war in Ukraine.

“Poland, Germany and Austria haven’t seen the accelerated growth in occupancy rates or ADR as some countries further west, and there are reasons for that,” says Hobbs-Hurrell. “It’s partly because there’s been a lot less travel going east due to the war in Ukraine.

Related: Heading to Portugal? Remember to get your passport stamped says Foreign Office

“We know there’s been a downturn of about 30% in traffic of people going into Poland, and other countries that border Ukraine. And that would be because simply there isn’t a demand there.”

He says those markets have particularly suffered because they are the ones where Ukrainian and Russian travellers go.

As for Germany and Austria, he says, tourism simply hasn’t recovered as quickly as the likes of Britain, Spain and Italy.

Germany’s tourism sector has been slower to recover than some European nations (Germany’s Bastei Bridge by Xantana/Getty)

Just this week, Julia Simpson, President and CEO of the World Travel and Tourism Council, said: “COVID-19 wreaked havoc on Germany’s travel and tourism, affecting millions of livelihoods and impacting the national economy.”

Related: Ooh la la: Air France shares details of its upcoming La Première first class revamp

According to the WTTC, between 2019 and 2020, Germany’s tourism sector’s contribution to GDP took a staggering 38.9% hit.

However, the WTTC said it expected Germany to recover in the next few years, and will surpass pre-pandemic levels by next year.

“Our data provides a positive outlook that will provide a massive boost to businesses across Germany as the sector finally begins to recover from the pandemic”, Simpson added.

Bottom Line

Hotel prices in many of the most popular European holiday destinations are rocketing, and have already overtaken 2019 levels before the summer season even kicks off in earnest. They don’t show any sign of slowing this year.

But if you’re smart and are prepared to travel off the beaten track, such as an area that has less demand or a high flow of more traditionally minded tourists, you can still find reasonable prices. Places like Poland, Germany and other eastern European countries that are taking longer to catch up with their western European counterparts. In some cases, like Denmark, you may even pay less than you would have before the pandemic.

Featured photo — Nyhavn, Copenhagen, Denmark — by @tonyvee via Twenty20.

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