London hotel prices to increase ten-fold for Olympics 2012
Planning to stay in London for a few days while the Olympics 2012 are on? You'd better start using that piggy bank - and soon.
Visitors to the capital could pay up to 10 times the usual rate for a hotel room, according to the Telegraph.
There's still a year to go until the games begin on 27 July 2012, and some hotels have yet to release their prices.
But those that have are somewhat eye-watering. A double room at the Sheraton Park Tower in Knightsbridge this month, for example, costs £209 a night. The price quoted for a stay in August next year is £605.
A night at the W London, in Leicester Square, costs around £290 this August. The same room during the Games will cost just under £540.
While over at the Berjaya Hotel in Kensington, where room rates typically range from £89 to £199, for every day of the Olympics, the price is £999 a night. Ouch.
Even the Youth Hostel Association's Earl's Court property has nearly doubled its rates from £15.65 to £30.65 per night.
Tom Jenkins, chief executive of the European Tour Operators Association (ETOA), said sky-high pricing was optimistic. He said visitor numbers to London were unlikely to rise next summer and highlighted previous major sporting events as examples.
Hotel rates in Beijing during the 2008 Olympics were up to 10 times more expensive than normal, a figure that is thought to have contributed to a 30% decline in visitors to the city in 2008 compared with the previous year.
'Mega events like the Olympics are primarily domestic events that put off travellers from abroad,' said Mr Jenkins.
'Theatres in the capital are banking on a 70% downturn in business during the Games, yet hotels still think they'll be going gangbusters.
'In Athens [host city of the 2004 Olympics] around 15,000 hotel rooms were sold. London has 125,000 rooms to sell. Such optimistic pricing in the face of such disparity is extremely brave.'
A spokesperson for Starwood Hotels, which owns the Sheraton Park Tower and W London, told the Telegraph: 'Our prices over the Olympic period are based on the rates we charge during other high-demand periods in London. We take a long-term view and we certainly will not alienate future customers by over-pricing rooms during the Olympic period.'
She added that Starwood had withdrawn its allocation of hotel rooms to Thomas Cook, the official holiday provider for the Games, in protest at through-the-roof costs of the tour operator's Olympic packages: £6,499 per person.
Starwood, along with a host of other hotel chains, has signed an agreement with the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games (LOCOG), to provide up to 50,000 rooms at a 'subsidised' rate for by sponsors, media and International Olympic Committee (IOC) members.
Still fancy braving it? Travel experts suggest that visitors to London for the Olympics should wait until early next year before booking accommodation, when hotels with unsold rooms may be forced to reduce their prices.
Plus, if any of LOCOG's rooms go unused, they'll become available to the public in March.
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