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Hotel room sales, rates up in Spokane County

Spokane County hotels have sold substantially more rooms so far in 2010, and bookings for future business are up dramatically, the president of the Regional Convention & Visitors Bureau said Monday.

Harry Sladich said a survey by Smith Travel Research Inc. showed increased business has also allowed operators to raise room rates, something hotels in only two of seven benchmark cities in the West were able to do – barely.

Rooms sold in March jumped 17 percent over March 2009 because of the NCAA basketball tournament and Pacific Northwest Qualifier, a volleyball tournament that attracted 400 teams, he said.

Rates were up 5 percent, compared with increases of less than 1 percent in Portland and Albuquerque, and decreases in Boise, Seattle, Tacoma, Salt Lake City, and Sacramento, Calif.

So far in 2010, rooms sold are up almost 12 percent, and rates more than 3 percent. Rates have fallen in all the benchmark cities.

Bookings for future business jumped 264 percent compared with March 2009, indicating business associations were shaking off concerns that travel might be frowned on the way it was during the worst days of the recession.

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