Hotel rooms in Birmingham have shown a significant increase in cost in the first six months of 2005, a survey has revealed.

A spokesman for corporate travel management company Business Travel International UK (BTI UK) said: "There has been a healthy growth rate, with the survey revealing a two-per-cent average room rate increase on the same period in 2004."

He said the trend was reflected in most cities across the UK.

BTI UK believes cities outside London may gain bookings throughout the year as business people book outside the capital following the suicide bombings.

The average room rate for hotels in Birmingham increased to £87.99 in the first half of 2005, BTI UK said.

A separate survey by hotels and tourism business advisor TRI Hospitality Consulting showed room rate for the West Midlands in the eight months to August was up to 62.33 per cent, a 0.9 per cent increase on the same period last year.

The August-on-August figure in the region rose by 18.9 per cent, to 60.79 per cent.

A spokesman said longer term comparisons gave a better indication of overall trends.

That is because major events, or the lack of them, in a short term comparison can skew overall trend statistics.

Room rate is worked out by dividing bedroom revenue by the number of bedrooms occupied.

The BTI UK survey targeted the performances of individual cities not regions.

Seventy hotels made up the Birmingham survey sample.

A spokesman said: " Birmingham's sustained strong performance reflects its position as the second city of England."

Leeds and Cardiff were the only two cities to have noticed a decrease in average costs, largely due to the fact that both had seen an increase in the number of rooms available due to the expansion of existing properties and new openings.

London again reported the most expensive average room rate at £136.66 - a six per cent increase on the same period in 2004.

Heathrow Airport topped the list as the location for the most expensive hotel room rate outside of London, showing an increase of one per cent to an average room rate of £103.23 between January and June this year.

BTI UK's survey is based on a combination of industry figures, actual room nights booked and rates paid by its clients during January-June.

Margaret Bowler, general manager of hotel relations at BTI UK, said: "Looking to the UK and following a positive start to 2005, it is likely that the recent London bombings will impact the country's key business destinations, with increased hotel bookings likely in provincial towns and cities.

"The extent of the shift out of the capital will only become apparent towards the end of the year."