Locog event organisers may not be able to distinguish between North and South Korean flags, but London is breaking records for foreign guests staying in hotels during the London 2012 Olympic Games and bringing more members of the ‘Olympic Family’ than have ever attended in the past.
The upbeat opinion comes from the European Tour Operators Association (ETOA).
ETOA Executive Director Tom Jenkins (pictured), said: “It is important to emphasise how well London is doing compared with other Olympic Games, and what good news there is for potential visitors.
“Our soundings indicate that London hotels are being occupied by more than 60,000 foreign guests per night during the games. Sydney had about 25,000, Athens 13,000 and Beijing 27,000 per night. This equates to more than 45,000 hotel rooms: more than three times the total bed-stock of Athens,” Jenkins noted.
Nevertheless the figure is below what would normally be expected in the capital. London would anticipate more than 300,000 foreign visitors a day in August, the vast majority of them staying in hotels.
Jenkins stressed, although hard numbers were difficult to establish, ETOA estimates that Olympic officials and other parts of the ‘Olympic Family’ occupied roughly 8,000 rooms in Sydney, 4,000 in Athens and 8,000 in Beijing. They look set to occupy more than 25,000 rooms in London.
As part of the bid process, London hotels committed to offer the ‘Olympic Family’ hotel rooms at a rate marginally above a benchmark rate measured during August 2008, 2009 and 2010.
Jenkins said London was the most connected city to have hosted the games in recent times.
Jenkins also believed it was far easier for Olympic visitors to fly in, attend the event they are interested in, and leave.
“That we have managed to attract far more press, official visitors and other members of the Olympic Family must be due to the unique appeal of the investment that has been made in the 2012 Olympics. But such investment also took place in Beijng. So a large part of this success is down to the hotels offering these people great value for money,” he added.
Locog had made initial bookings for 45,000 rooms per night for the ‘Olympic Family’. In doing so it was acting in the same manner as a wholesale tour operator: it secured rooms for third parties to sell. These third parties were free to book what they wanted for the period they wanted. There were some big block bookings for multiple rooms, but specialised correspondents may have needed only three nights’ accommodation, relatives two nights and corporate sponsors just one night. Thus the allotment was filled sporadically with individual bookings on virtually an individual night basis.
“In these circumstances, it was a major feat of co-ordination to arrive at a stage where, on average, 25,000 rooms per night will be used. A yield of 60 per cent of the allotment is an achievement far beyond the industry norm,” said Jenkins.
With over 125,000 hotel rooms, London has still has plenty of accommodation available throughout the Games in hotels of all categories. Many hotels are offering rates at or below what they were charging last year and you can still fly into London during the Games from Germany for as little as €50, the ETOA pointed out.
“In the context of Olympic tourism, London is set to deliver an outstanding performance. And there is still plenty of space: this is excellent news for last-minute visitors to London”.
ETOA includes over 600 member organisations, of which more than 150 are tour operators. Collectively, ETOA represents a €5bn spend on accommodation and travel services annually.
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26 July 12
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