23 May 2002 | David Arminas
Room rates at lower and mid-range European hotels are showing the first overall increase since last September's US terrorist attacks, rising by 2 per cent in the first quarter of 2002.
According to the latest American Express figures, average room rates for mid-range hotels were £122 in Amsterdam, £70 in Madrid and £115 in London.
Prices at upper-range hotels recorded a 3 per cent rise.
Annual rates for mid-range hotels - the barometer for business travel as executives seek to downgrade to save money - rose by 3.3 per cent across Europe.
Loraine O'Keefe, manager of the consulting services group at Amex, said prices could rise for the next year, as more executives chase the mid-range hotels.
"Higher than expected rises for mid-range rates are very possible," she said. "Even now hotel chains are trying to encourage the business traveller back. Companies such as Holiday Inn have their budget Holiday Inn Express hotels and Travel Lodge is marketing its business facilities for executives."
Mid-range rates in France and Germany were close to the European average annual increase.
But the annual increase for mid-range rates in the Netherlands was 16 per cent and in Belgium the rise was nearly 6 per cent.
Travellers within the UK will find some prices have fallen, the Amex European quarterly corporate travel index noted.
Rates for UK mid-range hotels fell by 3 per cent and upper-range hotels slipped back by 0.4 per cent.
Copies of the survey are available from Amex on 020 7976 4491, priced 400 euros.