Hotel prices plunge in Vienna

Hotels in Vienna are not bucking the European trend of decreasing prices, an investigation has shown.

International holiday platform Trivago, which manages the Trivago Hotel Price Index (THPI), announced that a double room in the Austrian capital costs 133 Euros this month, down by seven per cent compared to last month. The average hotel price for all of the 50 cities across the continent the website checked dropped at exactly the same rate. Prices declined in 35 locations, a spokesman for Trivago said.

The October price decline could help Vienna in achieving a new annual overnight stay record. Around 1.18 million overnight stays were counted by the city’s hotels in August – more than ever before that month since statistics have been kept on the issue. Vienna’s tourism industry strongly benefited from increased interest by Chinese holidaymakers (plus 50 per cent compared to August 2010) and Russians (plus 21 per cent).

Viennese tourism officials decided some months ago to focus on unusual marketing activities to make the city a desirable vacation destination for people from all over Europe. The tourism office of the Austrian capital arranged that the smell of Viennese coffee was spread on public transport platforms in Bucharest. It also organised an exhibition of replicas of masterpieces on display at museums in Vienna at a station of the Metro train network in Paris, France.

Marketing experts operating to the benefit of Vienna’s tourism sector even brought traffic to a standstill at one of the busiest squares in Rome, Italy. Local officials decided to pull the plug of a project in which 3D impressions from Vienna were shown at the Piazza Venezia after dusk each day for some weeks.

The initiative ended earlier than planned around two weeks ago when hundreds of people flocked to the square every evening to ogle at the images. Traffic authorities argued they were worried about people’s safety and Viennese marketing agents did not oppose the early end to the endeavour, stressing that it received more attention than expected.

Viennese hotels and guesthouses registered 10.86 million overnight stays last year, more than ever before. The previous record was set in 2008 with 10.2 million overnight stays. In that year, Austria and Switzerland co-hosted the Euro2008. Experts said ahead of the football tournament that it was likely all of the Austrian capital city’s hotels would be fully booked in good time. However, rooms of the whole price range were still available throughout the event.

Vienna is one of Austrian tourism’s most valuable assets alongside the city of Salzburg, skiing regions like Tyrol, Vorarlberg and Styria. The federal capital’s tourism businesses feature 54,000 beds today. The number is expected to swell to 60,000 in the coming one and a half years as several new hotels are currently being built. Some of the city’s hundreds of hotels and guesthouses are undergoing renovation or expansion work.