On Saturday, January 28, the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) confirmed that approximately 20 percent of hotel room nights it had reserved in London will be returned to the hotels. More than 120,000 room nights at more than 200 hotels will now be available to visitors to London this summer from 5 star to budget hotels.
As part of the bid to stage the London 2012 Games, agreements were arranged with hotels in 2005 to provide more than 40,000 hotel rooms, representing more than 600,000 room nights. These rooms are to provide accommodation for the world’s media, International Sport Federations, the International Olympic Committee, people working at the Games and sponsors. As part of these agreements, LOCOG promised to return any unwanted rooms back to the hotels so they could sell them in time for the summer of 2012.
The large-scale reservation of rooms in early preparation for the games has caused increased prices across the capital and has put many regular tourists off visiting this summer, the Independent is reporting.
Tour operators warned last night that a sudden flood of vacant rooms would be too late to boost visitor numbers. Analysis for the paper suggests up to one million beds will now go unsold over the Olympic period, hitting hoteliers and others working in the tourism industry. One trade association estimated income could slump by several billion dollars during July and August.
Kier Matthews, Vice President of Travel Industry Sales for Europe Express, says that he expects the sudden influx of rooms to bring prices down drastically. "For weeks now, some of our top hotel partners (three- to five-star) have been contacting us about releasing space to us over the games to start selling," he told Luxury Travel Advisor. "In some cases, we have accepted them; we’ve sold them in a matter of days. So this is a good trend for sure! I project a very robust hotel booking period over the next six to eight weeks until the entire inventory is gone."