Hotels.com's latest Price Index report is out and it looks like the hotel industry is enjoying something of a comeback.
Translation: Price hikes.
Consumers paid about 5 percent more for hotel stays in North America in 2011– the third consecutive year of increases since 2008.
"We really think that's showing more (consumer) confidence in the travel industry and confidence in the market," Hotels.com spokesperson Taylor Cole told Your Money. "Prices aren't back down to the levels they were in 2009 when people were taking more 'staycations.'"
When it comes to domestic travel, Las Vegas, New York City and Orlando are still the most popular destinations in the country. NYC reigned supreme with international travelers, attracting more than 50.5 million visitors from outside the U.S.
It also joined the list of the top 10 most expensive cities for hotel stays, along with hotspots like Honolulu, Boston and Miami. The latter two saw year-over-year hotel rates soar by 10 percent, but San Francisco saw the highest spike overall with a 13 percent average increase.
If you're looking for more inexpensive options (Central Park hot dogs aren't that good, guys), your best bet is to head South where cities are still offering rates under $100 a night.
Here are the top 10 cheapest:
When to book: Per Cole, the best time to book your hotel stay is about three weeks in advance. There are plenty of last-minute deals to be had (Hotels.com has a great tracker and smartphone app for that), but you're better off locking in the best rate earlier rather than later, especially for international travel.
Spring break season will end around the middle of April it looks like you'll start seeing hotel rates take a brief dive later in the month before peak summer season kicks up.
"At the end of April and early May, you'll start to see hotels really looking at summer promotions," Cole said. "Pools are open and they're even enhancing their menus, offering different beverages and specials. You'll see that trend not long after Easter."Now see 10 carry-on items that will save you time and money >
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