As thousands of international and domestic visitors descend upon London for the Olympics 2012, Breaking Travel News catches up with some of London’s top hotels to discuss the significance of the big event.
Smart new hotels have been popping up across the capital in anticipation of the London Olympics while leading existing hotels have been preparing to welcome the world for the occasion.
From the just opened Tune Hotel Kings Cross, to the Holiday Inn and Staybridge Suites London and Thompson Hotel Belgravia. global hotel giants are hoping to tap into the £115 billion a year industry.
These properties will be among those hosting up to 30.7 million visitors expected in the UK this year, according to VisitBritain’s predictions, a figure which has been boosted by The Games.
The London 2012 organising committee predicted 600,000 spectators from overseas will be in attendance during the Games, with an average stay of 4 to 5 days.
Meanwhile, according to VisitBritain, in total there could be 8.8 million spectators for the London 2012 Olympic Games and a further 2.2 million spectators are expected to watch the Paralympic Games during 11 days of competition.
Whatever the final figure, hotel operators across the capital are preparing to welcome guests from around the world for the season.
New growth markets being targeted include Asia and Latin America while core markets including Europe and the US remain important as ever.
Michael Wale, SVP Western Europe, Starwood Hotels & Resorts explains: “Starwood’s West End hotels, which include W London – Leicester Square and Le Méridien Piccadilly, will be full from July 27th until the end of Olympic Games period on August 12.
“This includes the rooms we have committed to LOCOG as well as accommodation we have held for our most loyal leisure and corporate guests. The period immediately after the Olympic Games, from mid-August onwards, is business as usual and we have plenty of availability and great prices in the market over these dates.”
The hotel group is prepared to welcome visitors from across the globe, with services in place for international visitors with different needs.
“We employ more than 50 different nationalities in our Central London hotels so have a plenty of foreign language speakers in our properties and are looking forward to welcoming our guests,” Wale added.
Meanwhile London’s famous Dorchester hotel is expecting to welcome a mixture of sponsors, team federations and individual leisure travellers.
BTN learned that both The Dorchester and 45 Park Lane, Dorchester Collection’s new Mayfair hotel, are currently fully booked over the period but this can change week to week.
Roland Fasel, General Manager and Regional Director of the UK, commented “The Olympics will provide a wonderful opportunity to showcase London as a destination for global travelers to return to after the summer – there are many layers to this city and we have some of the best restaurants in the world…you can never tire of exploring London.”
Another leading property which has been preparing for the arrival of The Games is DUKES London.
A spokesperson for the property explained: ‘The Olympics is still proving to be a challenge from most hotels. Whilst the press are reporting that London hotels are full, there is still hotel accommodation to be sourced in the city.
She added: “DUKES is in a fortunate position, where we have 80% of our hotel already reserved for exclusive use. We are also expecting to see a large interest in our world famous martini bar with lots of enquiries already made.”
Mixed reports on hotel availability
A survey from TripAdvisor recently found hotels in the London ‘E’ postcode area - home of the Olympic Park - have seen prices rise by 69 per cent in the build up to the games.
While hotel booking site Hotels.com recently revealed the average hotel price has fallen by almost a quarter across London, in comparison to last year.
The average cost of a hotel room in the capital over the games period now stands at £146. This is also down nine per cent from a figure of £160 in June this year.
While some feared that London would be full during the Games, Visit Britain’s chief always argued that London would be not only prepared for the games, but also that there would be room for visitors.
Christopher Rodrigues, VisitBritain chairman bcommented: “LOCOG’s commitment to free up any surplus rooms shows that it recognises the vital role that the tourism industry has to the overall success of the Games.” He added: “This is an important and timely boost for the sector”
As London heats up, with just two days to go until the Olympics opening ceremony, the uncertainty around The Games may be fading away, but what is known is that the 2012 Games have been a key catalyst for change.
The capital is in the middle of a major transformation to accommodate a 1 million growth in population over the next two decades, with over £6 billion being invested across London and a further £6.5 billion in transport improvements.