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Rooms to Grow

Ranking the world's most wallet-busting cities for business travellers.
Laura Cameron, CFO Europe Magazine
April 7, 2008

When travelling to Moscow on business, be sure to make full use of the hotel concierge. In fact, with the price of a hotel room in the Russian capital approaching €350 a night, on average, take advantage of every amenity that you can.

Hotel rates in Moscow have risen 93% since 2004, making it the most expensive city to visit for the third consecutive year, according to a report by corporate services company Hogg Robinson Group (HRG). Hotel rates rose in 45 of the 50 cities studied by HRG, based on rates paid by its corporate clients over the past year.

Margaret Bowler, director of global hotel relations at HRG, predicts further increases this year. Given the likely squeeze on corporate expense accounts as a result of tougher economic conditions, business travellers should explore other accommodation options, she advises. Serviced apartments, which often don't have minimum-stay restrictions, can be cheaper than traditional hotels, as can self-catering apartments for longer trips.

As always, booking well in advance is a sure-fire way to cut costs. Beware, however, of the early check-out fees that many hotels are introducing to counter the popular practice of cancelling "spare" nights on arrival.

Extra planning will be needed for trips to Mumbai, where room rates rocketed 37% last year, the largest increase in HRG's sample. The Indian financial capital now ranks as the seventh most expensive city in the world, up from 28th in 2006, surpassing the country's IT capital, Bangalore. Hotel prices in India as a whole rose 14% in 2007, with HRG estimating an undersupply of around 100,000 rooms. With only a maximum 15,000 rooms expected to be added a year in the country, more steep rises are ahead, especially in up-and-coming business locations such as Pune and Hyderabad. For a country renowned for the low costs of doing business, it sure is an expensive place to visit.


* Converted from British pounds at rate on December 31st, 2007. Percentage change refers to pound-denominated prices.
Source: Hogg Robinson Group




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