Moscow Has World’s Most Expensive Hotels for Business Travelers

Moscow hotels remained the world’s most expensive for business customers for a sixth straight year, ahead of New York, Geneva, Paris and Zurich in a survey of 2010 rates by Hogg Robinson Group Plc, a U.K. business travel agency.

The average Moscow room rate paid by a Hogg Robinson client last year actually slipped 3 percent to 258.67 pounds ($415), the Basingstoke, England-based company said in an e-mailed report. Doha was the only other city in the top 10 which saw a drop, while Zurich, Hong Kong and Stockholm rates surged more than 10 percent.

“More than half of the 75 cities we surveyed recorded room rate increases, reflecting the improving, albeit tentative, levels of business confidence,” Margaret Bowler, director of global hotel relations, said in the report, which was published yesterday. “Particular countries and regions are emerging quicker than others from recession, but there are definite signs of increasing room rates, which go hand in hand with increasing business travel.”

Business travel can act as an early barometer of economic growth or a slowdown in activity, Chief Financial Officer Julian Steadman said in an interview yesterday. The world economy rebounded in 2010 from the global financial crisis, led by emerging market economies such as China, India and Argentina.

In local currency terms, the average Moscow rate fell 12 percent to 13,250 rubles ($452), Hogg Robinson, which was founded by a wine merchant in 1845, said.

New York hotel room rates rose 3 percent to 211.92 pounds in 2010 from a year earlier. Zurich rates gained 13 percent to 198.58 pounds and Geneva 9 percent to 203.42 pounds. Paris was unchanged at almost 201 pounds, representing a 5 percent decline in local currency terms to 234.3 euros ($316).

The biggest drop was in Abu Dhabi where the construction of new hotels resulted in rates plunging 25 percent to 167.81 pounds. In Australia, Brisbane rates climbed 32 percent and Sydney hotel room prices surged 21 percent partly due to fluctuating exchange rates.

London average rates rose 3 percent to 156.91 pounds, ranking the U.K. capital 29th of the cities surveyed.

To contact the reporter on this story: Peter Woodifield in Edinburgh at pwoodifield@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Colin Keatinge at ckeatinge@bloomberg.net

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