Hotel prices in December 2008 were more than one tenth lower than they were the year before and room rates were just 1 percent above their level in January 2004, when the Hotel Price Index was first launched.
The hotels.com HPI(TM) tracks the real prices paid per hotel room rather than advertised rates. It is based on prices actually paid by customers for 68,000 hotels across 12,500 locations around the world. The HPI report issued today examines hotel prices for the period October to December 2008, compared to the same period the year before. The HPI tracks the real prices paid per room by hotels.com(R) customers around the world using a weighted average based on the number of rooms sold in each of the markets in which hotels.com operates.

Some of the notable findings about U.S. destinations included in this year's report:

- New York was the most expensive U.S. destination of those tracked in the global list, with prices averaging $255 during Q4 2008 - a fall of more than one-fifth (22 percent) compared to the same period in 2007.

- Washington, D.C. saw the sharpest price increase of any U.S. destination, with a 10 percent rise to $120 compared to Q4 2007. Demand for properties in the nation's capital surged as travelers planned trips for the presidential inauguration.

- Among the United States, New York was the most expensive destination, followed by Hawaii and Massachusetts. The least expensive states for travelers in Q4 2008 were Idaho, Nevada and South Dakota.

- New York topped American travelers' lists as the most popular domestic city destination, followed by Las Vegas, Orlando, Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco.

- For Americans venturing outside the country, Toronto was the most popular destination for U.S. travelers, followed by London. Paris, Rome and Hong Kong also made the top 10 list of international favorites for American travelers.

- For international travelers visiting the United States, New York, Las Vegas and Miami were the top destinations in Q4 2008.

Carl Sparks, general manager of hotels.com, said, "While hotels faced a challenging environment in the fourth quarter, they rolled out the welcome mat to travelers like we have never seen before to fill rooms. Properties are continuing to offer compelling rates and added value options, so it continues to be an excellent time for people to plan trips and secure great deals."