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Autumn is bringing falling Europe prices

September 14, 2012|By Chris Erskine | Los Angeles Times
  • The sun falls over the Charles Bridge, and a Holy Crucifix, in Prague, one of the many European cities that has seen price drops this autumn.
The sun falls over the Charles Bridge, and a Holy Crucifix, in Prague, one… (Linda Lu )

According to one discount travel site, hotel prices have been dropping dramatically across Europe compared with the fall season a year ago: Prague, 37%; Geneva, 31%. Several factors are at work, including the normal cool down after the Olympics and the struggling euro. What’s in it for you? Additional autumn discounts, in a shoulder season that always offers good deals.

Hotwire.com says Berlin, Paris, Barcelona and Rome are seeing their lowest hotel prices on the site in over five years, while airfare in cities like Berlin, Dublin, Helsinki and Valencia has dropped as much as 13%.

Hotwire President Clem Bason sees the drops as a combination of three factors: a hotel room glut after the Summer Games, the weakening euro and struggling European economy, and the usual autumn slowdown, when the travel industry typically drops prices anyway.

“We’re seeing a similar thing happen in Europe that happened in Canada right after the Vancouver Games,” he says. “London and surrounding cities opened many new hotel rooms in anticipation of record visitor numbers, and now that the big event is over, they’re discounting on sites like Hotwire to attract business.”

Overall, airfare throughout Europe generally hasn’t changed much over last year.  But a few of the cities that are experiencing the biggest hotel price drops are also seeing airfare discounts as well. For example, Berlin is experiencing a 21% drop in hotel prices and a nearly 7% drop in airfare.

A sampling of European cities with hotel price reductions for September through November 2012, compared with a year ago:

Destination        Average price drop on Hotwire              Average price on Hotwire

Prague                                 -37%                                                         $77

Geneva                                -31                                                             154

Budapest                             -30                                                              61

Venice                                  - 28                                                            148

Glasgow                               -26                                                              84

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