My favourite comments from the Davos ‘World Economic Forum’ recently related to the exorbitant cost of food at the event. One journalist posted a photo of a €43 receipt for a club sandwich. Of course, delegates at Davos are probably not price sensitive, so most of them probably didn’t take much notice of how much things cost. For the rest of us regular tourists and business travellers, Hotels.com has used the classic hotel staple of a chicken, bacon, egg, lettuce and mayonnaise sandwich as a barometer of affordability. Started in 2012, the ‘Hotels.com Club Sandwich Index (CSI)’ offers an indication of the costs associated with popular travel destinations.
This version of ‘CSI’ reflects not only changes in the actual price of a club sandwich across the globe, but also the effect of currency fluctuations between cities. This is particularly apt for any of us considering visiting non-Eurozone destinations. Following the Swiss National Bank’s policy reversal recently, the euro tumbled from 1.20 against the Franc to stand at around 0.98 today. Similarly, following the ECB’s recent ‘quantitative easing’, the euro fell to $1.12 against the US dollar.
Returning to the Hotels.com index, it is calculated from the real prices paid by guests for a club sandwich in 30 hotels in either the capital or an important tourist city in the 28 countries surveyed, across five, four and three-star categories. In total, 840 hotels were canvassed globally.
In May 2014, Hotels.com announced that Geneva (Switzerland) retained the top spot as the most expensive city in the world to order a club sandwich, at an average of $32.60. Paris confirmed its pricey reputation by coming second globally with an average of $29.36, followed by Helsinki in third place. New York came at number 13 globally, with an average of $17.99. To show the impact of the euro’s fall against the USD, that New York sandwich would have cost around €13 in May 2014, but would now set you back just over €16. If you are planning a trip to Disney World, there is some good news, as the least expensive city in the US in which to get a sandwich was Orlando ($10.68).
Several other European cities featured in the top ten, including Stockholm, Oslo, London, Rome and Copenhagen. Dublin rose three places to rank 16th, with an average club sandwich being $16.16. Conversely to those of us heading State-side, American tourists to Ireland in 2015 will surely notice a sharp decline in their holiday costs.
For budget travellers, India’s New Delhi retained its title as the cheapest destination of those surveyed by Hotels.com, with an average of just $8.78. That said, I would think that visitors to India would be losing out badly by choosing a club sandwich given the alternatives on offer in terms of Indian cuisine.