Home Hotels The Most Expensive U.S. City For Hotels Is…Sacramento?

The Most Expensive U.S. City For Hotels Is…Sacramento?

by SharonKurheg

Because of so many canceled flights, coronavirus has made for all sorts of (temporary) changes in how busy airports are.  I mean, at one point this summer, the busiest airport in the country was Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW), which is usually the 4th busiest in the country.

The same things goes for hotels. Many remain shuttered and more than a few have, unfortunately, closed for good. Those that are open are suffering from abysmally low occupancy rates. When cheaphotels.org did a survey to determine the most expensive city in the U.S. for hotel accommodations, is anyone really surprised that it’s not NYC, Boston, Los Angeles or even San Francisco?

It’s Sacramento.

How they figured it out:

They used a sample of all 36 destinations in the USA with populations of more than 500,000, along with 14 selected destinations with a population of greater than 250,000. For each destination, the average price for the cheapest available double room was established for the time period of October 1 through 31, 2020. Rates were compiled during late September using the hotel comparison website Kayak. Only centrally located hotels (those that were downtown or close to downtown) rated at least 3 stars were considered.

Sacramento had the most expensive room, with an average price of $131 (last year it was Nashville, at $223).

Cincinnati ranked second-highest, with an average of $118 (in 2019, it was Boston, at $221).

Phoenix came in as third-highest, at $111 per room (a year ago it was San Jose, at $214).

Here were the Top Ten most expensive:

  1. Sacramento $131
  2. Cincinnati $118
  3. Phoenix $111
  4. Boston $110
  5. Pittsburgh $109
  6. El Paso $107
  7. Charlotte $107
  8. Portland $106
  9. San Jose $105
  10. Jacksonville $105

On the other end of the spectrum are the cities with the cheapest U.S. cities for hotels.

Las Vegas was the cheapest, with an average rate of $35 (it was Vegas last year too, but was $69 then).

The second least expensive was Baltimore, at $64 (San Antonio, at $84, in 2019).

That was followed by San Antonio, which cost an average of $67 per night (previously Fresno, $85).

Business travel destinations such as Boston, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. were the types of cities most heavily impacted by the virus. Hotel rates for those who have dropped more than 50% compared to the same time in 2019. Some locations, such as San Francisco and New York City cost even less than that – roughly 60% cheaper than October 2019.

Destinations that don’t rely so heavily on business travel only had 10-30% decreases in hotel rates.

Here’s the full list for 2020. If you want to compare it to 2019, that can be found here.

Strange days, indeed.

Feature Photo (cropped): josephateart / Wikimedia

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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary



Joseph N. October 5, 2020 - 1:06 am

This is only a surprise if you don’t dig a little to find out why. I am currently in a hotel near Sacramento, paying half of your listed average, and I have had several conversations with the manager about occupancy levels. How did Sacramento become the highest priced hotel market in the country? Families displaced by all those record breaking fires, combined with housing all those incoming firefighters.

At the same time, San Francisco is a covid / post-riots mess, so hotel rates, for the hotels that are open, are super depressed. It is a first to see hotels in San Francisco going for less, much less, than hotels in Sacramento.

Bob October 5, 2020 - 3:22 am

Pretty easy to figure. Sacramento has a very limited hotel market downtown that mostly caters to state government business. The $139 is in line with the government per firm rate of $140 (https://www.gsa.gov/travel/plan-book/per-diem-rates/per-diem-rates-lookup/?action=perdiems_report&state=CA&fiscal_year=2020&zip=&city=Sacramento%20).

Essentially Sacramento is so high because that’s what the government will pay. Hard to find a room cheaper than that there (during weekdays) and per firm rates are set months/years in advance.

Kuzuri August 14, 2022 - 9:37 pm

Lol, I’d happily pay $131/night. Two years later and the bulk of prices in Sacramento proper start at $200/night and only go up from there. There are several over $300, even $400/night.


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