London tourism recovery not down to Games, claims operator

London tourism recovery not down to Games, claims operator

The recovery in tourism to London may have at least as much to do with promotional deals from savvy hoteliers as with any post-Olympic legacy, a leading operator claims.

JacTravel analysed wholesale prices for London hotels in the 4 and 5-star categories during the Games period last year and concluded that average prices are not just substantially down on inflated rates seen during the Olympics. In real terms, rates are less than they were in 2011.

The average five-star room rate this year is £124.80 per person per night, less than half the rate during the Games of £250.65. However, the average rate in 2011 was 6% higher at £132.50.

The average four-star rate is £62.13, less than 60% of the 2012 rate, which was £107.84. The average rate in 2011 was £57.77, but when inflation is taken into account (4.8% in 2011 and 3.1% in 2012) this year’s average price represents a slight reduction in real terms.

A year on from the London Olympics, JacTravel chief buyer for London, Kasia Marciniak, said: “Headline rates are not down; they’re up but the promotional deals in the wholesale market are so substantial that they are having an impact on the average prices we are seeing.

“Many hotels are offering 10-20% discounts over a whole stay, particularly where it includes traditionally quieter days, or they are bundling in additional bonus nights.

“What I’m hearing is that many hotels lost out on regular business due to the Olympics and they feel they need to do something special to attract major clients back. Nobody is saying there has been a boost in demand from staging the Games.”

London bookings this summer are massively up on 2012 and very substantially up on 2011, the company says. JacTravel bookings are around double what they were in 2011 and more than six times 2012.

President and chief commercial officer Mario Bodini, said: “The rebound is beyond expectation. In my view, the key factor is that many hoteliers are showing great commercial nous.

“Travel is an incredibly price-sensitive business and cleverly constructed promotions that offer great value to the consumer stand out and win business.

“Of course, offering deals through wholesalers like us enables hotels to preserve the appearance of high rates but make no mistake; the imaginative promotions are making a big impact.”

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