Home Business NewsOlympics Overbooking organisers 'contribute to £3.5bn Games slump'

Overbooking organisers 'contribute to £3.5bn Games slump'

by LLB Editor
30th Jan 12 12:11 pm

Olympic organisers have been accused of causing a damaging spike in London’s hotel rates during July and August which could contribute to a £3.5bn tourism slump during the Games.

More than 120,000 places reserved in hotels in the capital during the Olympics will no longer be needed for sponsors, workers and the media, the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games (Locog) confirmed.

Some 20 per cent of the room nights booked by Locog will now be returned to the hotels and they will be able to offer them to other customers.

But the large scale reservation of rooms by organisers has caused hotel room prices to spike in the capital and put other tourists off visiting London during the Games.

The European Tour Operators Association (ETOA) told the Independent said the overbooking of hotel rooms could add to a slump of up to £3.5bn in July and August.

ETOA executive director Tom Jenkins said: “During the Olympic period itself, there is currently almost no demand from regular tourists.”

Locog’s over-optimism about demand for hotel rooms may have been matched by hoteliers, the Independent said. It claims London’s hotels are likely to be less than 80 per cent full during the Games, when the typical occupancy level for July and August is around 90 per cent or more.

Agreements had been struck with hotels to offer more than 40,000 rooms, totalling about 600,000 room nights, during the Games. The committee promised to return any unwanted rooms to the hotels so they could sell them to other customers.

Paul Deighton, chief executive of Locog, said: “The hotel industry in London got behind the bid to stage the Games in the most extraordinary way and that support helped us across the line.

“We always promised that we would not hold on to hotel rooms we didn’t need but return them to the individual hotels at the beginning of 2012.

“We are now doing this and I hope that this enables the hotels to continue with their planning for this summer as we all work together to stage a spectacular Games.”

Barry Wishart from the Grange Hotel group said: “We were only too happy to support London’s bid for the Games and we are proud to continue that support.

“Now Locog has confirmed these details, we are able to confirm our plans for this summer and help our customers be part of this extraordinary event.”

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