"Who can afford these prices?": Downtown Vancouver hotel rates lead all Canadian cities

May 12 2023, 10:33 pm

An Edmonton lawyer planning on visiting the city had some thoughts on hotel prices in downtown Vancouver, but are they getting out of hand?

A tweet from the lawyer in question, viewed nearly 80,000 times, also led to many reactions from the Twitterverse.

We looked at hotel prices across the country via Expedia, a popular hotel booking platform.

Before this deep dive, it’s important to note that two cities in particular, Edmonton and Toronto, have their respective NHL teams in the playoffs for now. But that hasn’t impacted prices, at least compared to Vancouver, as much as you might think.

Vancouver vs. Canada

For this price check, we’ve selected May 26-28 for one traveller as our itinerary, the exact dates the lawyer in question set for her trip. The prices for Vancouver and other Canadian cities on this list are representative of the first week of May.

In Vancouver, Expedia’s first 20 recommended hotels came to an average cost of $678.10. On the highest end of that scale, a two-night stay would cost a visitor a whopping $1,199 per night, or $3,377 total. The cheapest visit is at the Cambie Hostel for $72 per night.

Calgary

Hotel prices in downtown Calgary aren’t even in the same ballpark as in Vancouver. For the top 20 recommended hotels on Expedia, in Calgary, the average cost is $273.25 per night, more than $400 cheaper than the average in Vancouver.

Edmonton

What about Edmonton, where the lawyer who began the debate is from?

The Edmonton Oilers are still alive in the playoffs, which one could presume might lead to a spike in hotel prices. Is that the case?

Believe it or not, the average cost based on the top 20 recommended hotels by Expedia in Edmonton is actually lower than in Calgary, at $183.55 per night.

Toronto

Things get interesting in Toronto. The Leafs are hanging on by a thread in the NHL playoffs, down 3-0 against the Florida Panthers in their best-of-seven series.

Has there been an influx of tourists to watch the Leafs play in Toronto?

Based on the same methodology as the other cities, the average cost of hotels among Expedia’s top 20 recommendations in Toronto is $514.95 per night.

Montreal

We would’ve expected Montreal to be more expensive than Calgary based on the top 20 hotels recommended by Expedia, but the average cost in Montreal is $244.55 per night.

What about Airbnb?

Some people suggested checking out Airbnb listings instead of downtown Vancouver hotels. Still, the lawyer pointed out that Airbnb wasn’t much better, and if anything, prices were worse, on top of less availability.

Others pointed out that there were indeed cheaper options.

Inflation also entered the chat:

More data suggesting Vancouver hotel prices are the highest in Canada

While we only scraped the surface of Expedia, according to commercial real estate firm Avison Young, Vancouver’s hotel market now has the highest average daily rate amongst Canada’s six largest major urban hotel markets, with an average daily rate of $234.12 for 2022.

Throughout 2022, Vancouver’s hotel market reached a room occupancy rate of 72.9%, which is also the highest amongst major Canadian urban hotel markets. This represents a 50.4% year-over-year growth in the utility of hotel room supply.

Without an adequate increase in hotel room supply, Vancouver’s hotel rooms will continue to see escalating prices, visitors will choose to travel to other Canadian destinations outside of British Columbia, and the city and region will become less competitive with landing the rights to host tourism-generating conferences, conventions, and sports events. There would be opportunity costs of economic losses in the tens of billions of dollars and significant job growth impacts.

With files from Kenneth Chan

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