Hotel room rates on rise – but the capital's not most expensive
IT MAY comes as a surprise, but Dublin does not command the highest hotel prices – not by a long shot.
New research shows that while the average cost of a room in the capital is still higher than the national average, other cities and towns such as Galway and Killarney can charge much more.
According to Hotels.com, a hotel room in Dublin costs €93 on average between January and June – just €1 higher than the national average. Prices in the capital were still up by 2pc during the year, boosted by a host of major events including the EU Presidency and a recovery in conference bookings.
Michelle Obama's June visit with her daughters also put Dublin back in the spotlight, with images of the US First Lady's trip to Trinity College beamed around the world.
But Dublin still lagged far behind Killarney, where prices rose 5pc in the same period to an average of €107 per night.
Killarney is one of Ireland's most popular tourist destinations, so it benefited hugely from the rebound in US visitors to Ireland, who tended towards the four- and five-star hotels in the town.
Galway was another winner. Its average room rate may have fallen by 2pc, but the city's prices still sit comfortably above the national average at €97 per night. The city's prices have always been reasonably steady. Advanced bookings for events like the Galway Races helped to maintain rates.
At the other end of the scale was Limerick, which remained Ireland's most affordable destination. Prices stayed flat at €67 per night, kept low by an oversupply of hotel rooms in the city. Other cities where hotel prices sit below the national average include Cork, at €86 per night, and Sligo, at €79 on average.
Overall, the latest Hotels.com price index paints a picture of an industry in recovery. The national average of €92 per night represented a 2pc increase in 12 months. This is the third consecutive year that the organisation has seen room rates rise.
However, other organisations went to pains to distance themselves from the results. The Irish Hotels Industry, calling them "outrageous", instead pointed to recent figures from the CSO which showed that inflation in the accommodation industry was actually down by 1pc in the 12 months to July.
This schism within the industry as to whether or not there is actually a recovery is understandable. Hoteliers are lobbying hard for the Government to keep the 9pc VAT rate enjoyed by the hospitality sector in the upcoming Budget, and suggestions that the industry is thriving do not help this cause.