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Hoteliers hike prices ahead of London 2012 Olympics

Hoteliers hike prices ahead of London 2012 Olympics

A number of hotels in London have been accused by tourism authorities of hiking room rates during next year’s Olympics, with one hotel found to charging five times the standard rate.

Ahead of London 2012 tickets going on sale this Tuesday, UKinbound, the industry body for overseas tourism to Britain, said the move undermines the hospitality industry’s efforts to avoid tourism “price-gouging”.

“Hotels appear to be gripped by a frenzy of greed,” Mario Bodini, general secretary of UKinbound and chief executive of JacTravel, a wholesale accommodation provider, told the Financial Times.

One four-star London hotel, which normally charges £200 per room per night, is asking £1,100, a wholesale tour specialist told the FT.

Another four-star hotel is quoting £297 per room per night, against £131 this year. One three-star hotel has nearly trebled its 2011 room rate for the Olympics, demanding £235 a night.

On Tuesday, the organisers begin selling 6.6m tickets. However there are fears that price gouging will deter overseas spectators, as well as those from other parts of the UK.

Visit Britain, the government’s tourism agency, said it hoped that hoteliers and other hospitality businesses would sign up to a “fair pricing and practice charter” under which they would voluntarily agree to offer fair and reasonable prices between June 1 and September 30 next year.

Chris Foy, head of Visit Britain’s 2012 unit, said the hotel price rises were “a situation we’ve been aware of . . . It is not a surprise this is coming up”.

He also said it was still too early to determine what London hotel prices would be like during the Games.

“A lot of hotels will not have got their heads around this. Once the Olympics tickets go on sale, it will be a lot more real,” he said.

“The potential for people to stay away from London is a live issue. The issue is what we do about it.”

Locog, the London organising committee, has block-booked 40,000 hotel rooms for Olympics officials, international federations, foreign media and others at rates agreed before London won the bid in 2005.

Travel agent Thomas Cook is providing packages of up to four nights of accommodation for 300,000 ticket-holders.


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