Happy days are here again (for hoteliers, that is)

According to USA Today, hoteliers are climbing back into the seller's seat as room rates soar: "Rooms have risen 12% in New York from a year ago to an average of $199 a night, says tracker Smith Travel Research. Other destinations have seen much of the same: Detroit, up 12%; Los Angeles, up 7%; Houston, up 6%." And, according to a National Business Travel Association survey, rates are expected to shoot up another 7.5 percent in 2005.

Welcome back to the seller's market, folks. While corporate travel departments are telling employees to stay at downscale facilities, use travel discounts like AAA and AARP offer, and even buying corporate apartments to use in oft-traveled-to cities, meeting planners are still stuck with rising rates, and probably an increased reluctance to negotiate, along with attendees whose companies are taking total costs, including hotel, into account now when approving trips, rather than just airfare.

Remember just a few years ago when hotels were hurting so badly and were willing to deal? I hope you treated them well in their bad times, because those who didn't might find an increasingly difficult environment now that the tide has turned. At least, I hear that those who didn't try to gouge hotels then will be treated equally fairly now (and the reverse, of course).

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