Hotel rates begin to climb as demand grows

Signs of escalating room rates are emerging as more people are traveling. Hotel rates are rising again as demand for rooms has grown.

Marriott, an industry bellwether, said last week that its rates in the second quarter rose for the first time in two years.

Travelocity says rates of rooms in the nation’s 20 largest markets booked on its travel site for fall — from Sept. 7 to Nov. 19 — are 3.5% higher than a year ago.

Smith Travel Research, which tracks the hotel industry, found average rates in the top 25 U.S. markets up 3.5% in August.

Last year was dreadful for the industry as people stayed at home. While hotel operators have been optimistic that customers would trickle back this year, they expected room rates to lag.

But rates are rising as demand for rooms has grown. The number of rooms sold in the U.S. rose 8.3% in August vs. a 7.4% year-to-date average, says Smith Travel Research.

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