London 2012 and the winners are…
Just before the Olympics opening ceremony, London hotel bookings are looking good, says Travelclick, with committed occupancy at an average of 80.4% over the Olympics period. According to the hotel booking engine provider, hotel prices during the Games are up an average of 70% compared to the same time last year. Rates reach a high of £193 (average price taken across the hotels sampled) on the night of 5th August – the night of the men’s 100m final.
On the other hand, JacTravel – which claims to book more than half a million bed nights in London per year – says it is seeing ‘a substantial decline’ in London hotel rates as the Olympic Games deter visitors. Rates have recently been falling from inflated levels and are currently only around 40% higher than normal. Rates after the Olympics are even 15-20% down on the same period last year. The company reports that the majority of its hotel partners have reduced rates significantly in the past couple of weeks. Angela Skelly, JacTravel Director: “For example, four-star hotel quoting wholesale rates of £300-£400 have dropped them by around 50 percent to £160-£165 (US$248 to US$256). Declines in the lower categories have been even more substantial, with some two-star properties cutting trade prices 75 percent from £200 (US$310) to £50 (US$78).”
UK tour operators have not benefitted from the Games either, as the rooms allotted to them in a normal year have not been made available and/or the rooms were overpriced. Until, of course, recently. For London hoteliers, the best-case scenario was to sell their rooms at a much higher rate than they would in a normal year. Chris Rodrigues, Chairman of VisitBritain, described the hotelier’s perspective in an interview when he said: “I’m going to move my rates much closer to the event when I’ve got a better line on my sight of occupancy, and I will then distribute it through the ‘Expedias,’ through the ‘Travelocities,’ ‘the last-minute.coms.'”
According to The European Tour Operators Association (ETOA), it has become abundantly clear who are the winners during the London Olympic Games – the ‘lastminute.coms’ and last-minute travelers.