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Econowatch/7″/CW1st/mike2nd BY JOAN OSTERWALDER Staff Reporter Heavy corporate travel sent hotel occupancy rates up in October and room rates rose slightly as well, according to Melissa Mills, research coordinator at hotel-industry consulting firm PKF Consulting. “It’s been a good convention month,” she said. “(The numbers) are clearly up a lot.” In October, the Valley’s hotel occupancy rate was 79 percent, a significant increase over September, when the rate stood at 72.7 percent, and over October last year, when the occupancy rate was 73.78 percent. Hotels on average charged guests $106.48 nightly per room in October, slightly more than September, when the average nightly room rate was $105.80. In comparison, an average room cost $102.52 in October of last year, or 3.9 percent less. David Cornish, director of marketing for the Hilton Burbank Airport, said October and February are typically the two peak corporate travel months of the year. “October is a beautiful business month,” he said. “Everybody tries to do their corporate travel before Thanksgiving and the holidays.” The Airtel Plaza Hotel in Van Nuys saw its occupancy rate jump 18 percent in October compared with the same period last year, said Jack McGrath, the hotel’s spokesman. Although weekend business is usually weak, the Airtel Plaza had a 10 percent increase in its weekend occupancy compared to last year, he said. “A lot is attributed to groups who have weekend conferences,” McGrath said.

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