Paris hotels push prices up after surge in US tourists and currency

Local Parisians with a penchant for luxury claim that an influx of American tourists and their currency priced them out of the Ritz and Raffles.

The euro fell to an all-time 20-year low against the US dollar this week. As if to compound this problem, France has been hit with another humiliation – smug Americans with even more pocket money.

While Les Touristes Americains are a general source of anger, Paris’ top hotels have welcomed them back with open doors.

This summer, one of the most famous hotels in metropolitan France, Le Bristol, increased room rates by 20 percent.

A night in their top suite now costs an additional 5,000 euros.

At €30,000 per night ($50,000), a stay in the Imperial Suite costs the equivalent of a down payment on a house. It far eclipses Paris’ most expensive room to date, the Plaza Athénée’s Mandarin Royal Suite, which raised prices to €20,000 a night last year.

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Le Bristo’s rate hike can be seen in all rooms down to its entry-level 2,290 rooms — and far outpaces the steep rise in energy bills, wages, and expenses.

However, this increase is modest compared to the 38 per cent increase seen across all hotels in the French capital to an average of €198 per night.

Hoteliers unabashedly say it’s about scalping inbound Americans willing to pay.

Catherine Hodoul-Baudry, regional marketing director for hotel owner The Oetker Collection, says it’s helping offset a difficult pandemic.

“There is no price resistance [from customers]. Paris is benefiting from strong demand so after years of suffering we took advantage of it,” she told Bloomberg.

Paris hotels have increased their rates by 38 percent to take advantage of the strong US dollar.  Photo / Barthelemy de Mazenod, Unsplash
Paris hotels have increased their rates by 38 percent to take advantage of the strong US dollar. Photo / Barthelemy de Mazenod, Unsplash

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The Americans save the summer in Europe

Since travel restrictions were lifted, pent-up demand for European travel from the US has surged.

In July, a inflammatory CNN headline, “How Americans are Saving the Summer,” drew online mockery. French Twitter saw the need to remind that it was no longer 1944.

The rising cost of living in Europe’s cities is a major concern for residents.

These increases reflect inflationary pressures in the eurozone and the rising cost of living, but are particularly felt in areas where tourism is recovering.

Taunay-Bucalo, chief revenue officer at vacation management company TravelPerk, said prices are being pushed up by demand.

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“These increases are due to external factors that all parts of the travel industry are grappling with, including increased fuel costs, labor shortages and disruptions to the global economy,” he told Schengen Visa News.

“But it’s also true that providers are seeing a spike in demand and are trying to make up for lost revenue during the pandemic.”

In Berlin, the general room price rose by 38 percent to 130 euros, as in Paris. Barcelona has seen the biggest increase in Europe, almost doubling by 48 percent to €153.

Those spending currencies other than the USD will experience a greater increase in the room rate.