Staying in European hotels was considerably cheaper in the last quarter of 2005, according to hotels.com.

The average price paid by guests was 115 Euros (142 US$) or 8.7 per cent less than 12 months previously. Hotels.com compared the cost of staying overnight at 20'000 hotels in 1'000 locations around the world.

The lowest charges found were in Budapest where a room cost on average 84 Euros. The biggest drop in prices was in Stockholm where hotel charges declined 24 per cent to about 117 Euros a night.

Hotels.com says the "enormous drop in prices" is unparalleled across the globe. Hotel costs increased in the US to an average 153 Euros a night at the same time as charges went down in Europe.

Prices did rise in a few European cities such as Geneva where prices grew by 14 per cent compared to the previous year to an average of 156 Euro per night. The above average rise in price is mainly linked to the increased availability of low-cost flights by budget airlines.