San Francisco already is one of the priciest U.S. cities for apartment renters and companies seeking office space. Now the area has a new distinction: it’s the world’s most expensive place for visitors to spend the night.
The average price for a San Francisco hotel room has jumped 88 percent in the past year to $397 a night, according to an index compiled by Bloomberg of the world’s top 100 financial centers. The city ranks ahead of Geneva, where rooms set travelers back $292 a night, and Milan, at $271. Chicago, with rates at $240, ties Miami as the second-costliest U.S. cities.
The surge in San Francisco room rates was the biggest among the lodging markets tracked by Bloomberg. The rising costs are being driven by the region’s technology-industry boom, a soaring job market and a dearth of hotel construction as developers focus on office and residential buildings -- a combination that’s allowing operators to be aggressive with their pricing.
“The influx of tech companies into San Francisco has been tremendous, and with it this new emerging traveler, this millennial traveler, who is looking for downtown experiences,” said Chuck Pacioni, general manager at the San Francisco Marriott Marquis. “Many of them may travel for work to Silicon Valley, but instead of staying at a suburban hotel, they want to stay in the city for the culture and the experiences.”
The high rates visitors are paying for rooms has enticed investors. Loews Corp.’s lodging unit bought the Mandarin Oriental San Francisco Hotel in April, two months after Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc. purchased the city’s Parc 55.
San Francisco is one of 25 lodging markets with a year-over-year increase in room rates, the Bloomberg data show. Chicago had the second-biggest gain, with a 64 percent surge, followed by a 47 percent jump in Milan and a 33 percent rise in Kuala Lumpur.
Among U.S. cities where hotel costs have fallen, New York had the biggest decrease, with a 13 percent decline to an average room rate of $202. In Europe, Paris hotels were among the biggest losers, with a 37 percent drop to $146.
Nightly prices in Budapest fell by more than half, the greatest decline worldwide, to $85. Globally, the cheapest market is Hanoi, Vietnam, where rooms average $62 a night.
The Bloomberg gauge measured 100 cities based on the average daily cost of hotels, regardless of star ratings, for two adults in a double-occupancy room. Rate calculations were taken in May for two blocks of time -- Aug. 1 to Aug. 10 of this year and Feb. 1 to Feb. 10, 2016 -- to account for holiday, promotion and convention-related pricing.