Despite the global economic downturn, Hogg Robinson Group?s (HRG) 2008 hotel survey reports a mixed picture for the hotel market. Across the world, all regions reported rate rises ? albeit at a slower pace than in 2007. Rates flattened, and in some cases fell, in the second half of the year as the effects of the current climate took hold, but pockets of growth remain in cities where demand continues to outstrip supply.

Margaret Bowler, Director Global Hotel Relations at HRG, says: ?The hotel industry has reported a mixed picture over 2008. There is no doubt that this is a challenging time for corporate travellers and hoteliers and the fluctuating exchange rate has had a significant impact on the UK corporate traveller. Although rates have flattened in recent months, in some parts of the world demand still outweighs supply. As such, there continue to be pockets of growth in cities such as Moscow, Berlin and Abu Dhabi.

?The changing market also brings opportunities for the corporate traveller and the role of travel management firms such as HRG has become more important than ever to guide clients through the dynamic market. During industry boom periods, hotels often denied bookers access to corporate rates in favour of more lucrative options. This trend has now reversed and as occupancy levels balance out, corporates will gain greater access to negotiated rates. In parallel, as hoteliers seek to maintain rates, corporate travellers will increasingly be able to secure value added services as part of their rates including, for example, free internet access, complimentary parking, food and beverages.?

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