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April 19--Sonoma County's hotel rates rose 4.1 percent in the year's first quarter, travel research company STR reported Wednesday.

The average daily room rate for the quarter climbed to $136.42, compared to $131.10 a year earlier.

Hotel occupancy dipped slightly to 67.6 percent from 68.5 percent a year earlier. Even so, it was the second best occupancy rate for the quarter since at least 2009.

County room rates have steadily increased for seven years. In the first three months of 2010, the average room rate was $89.37. Since then the rate has increased 52.6 percent.

The STR monthly survey includes data on nearly 6,400 county hotel rooms, an increase of nearly 240 units from a year earlier. The new hotel rooms helped contribute to a 6.7 increase of first quarter revenues to $53 million.

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