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Expect to pay more for a hotel this year

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CONSUMER WATCH -- Do you have big vacation plans for the summer? Well, you might have to pay more than you budgeted for the trip. Costs are rising in the world of travel. 2007 is turning out to be a great year if you own a hotel, but not such a good deal if you're staying in one. A new survey from Price Waterhouse Coopers finds that everyone should expect to pay more for a hotel room this year. The average cost for a room is $103, up 5.9 percent from last year. The survey says hotels are charging more because occupancy has remained high -- hotel owners feel confident raising rates. In addition, long-term contracts for conventions that featured discounted rates are expiring this year. That frees up space, and gives hotels the opportunity to raise prices. Hotels are also becoming a bit more internet-savvy, selling rooms online themselves instead of giving deals to other websites such as Priceline and Hotwire. So what's a frugal traveler to do? Apparently, not much. Experts say no matter how hard you search for a deal, don't expect any great bargains. This year everyone will be forking over more cash for their hotel rooms.

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