With fewer than 200 days until the London 2012 Olympics, the UK is preparing for an influx of visitors from around the world. But just how much of an impact will the Games have on the nation’s hotels?
TravelClick, the hotel market intelligence provider, insists the market is looking optimistic for hoteliers, with committed occupancy for London hotels currently at 45.7 per cent – up by more than 300 per cent on the same period in 2011.
In an update on the Capital’s hotel market, TravelClick’s data shows that occupancy across the entire period of the London 2012 Olympics is fairly consistent, with the opening ceremony (27 July) already showing a 443 per cent rise on the same date last year.
But Choice Hotels, the company behind the Comfort, Quality and Clarion brands, has been quick to point out that not all hoteliers will necessarily benefit.
In a survey of 30 UK-based Choice Hotel owners, operators and general manager, just over half (51 per cent) believe that all UK hotels will benefit from the increased inbound tourism expected in the summer.
However, 29 per cent think only London Hotels will benefit from the Games, while 18 per cent believe that the games won’t bring any benefits at all to hotels outside the M25.
“Our survey reveals mixed views on whether hotels across the whole of the UK will see a benefit from the inbound tourism expected from the London 2012 Olympics,” said Duncan Berry, UK chief executive for Choice Hotels Europe.
Apprehension over the positive impact of the Olympics on the hotel sector isn’t just confined to those areas outside of London. Last year, Jonathan Ragget, managing director of Red Carnation hotels, told BigHospitality that 'anyone who thinks London hotels will be full for the London 2012 Olympics are kidding themselves’ .
The Best of Britain
Meanwhile, VisitBritain, the national tourism agency, has partnered with Samsung to launch ‘The Best of Britain’ mobile application in a bid to encourage more visitors to the country.
The Best of Britain app allows users to plan their trip for the London 2012 Olympics, showcasing the diverse range of museums, attractions, restaurants, bars, arts, entertainment and nightlife the UK has to offer. It also provides content about the Olympic Torch Relay and Olympic venue destinations next year.
Laurence Bresh, director of marketing at VisitBritain, said: “We expect that the events of 2012 - from the London 2012 Olympics & the Paralympic Games to the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee - will inspire many to come to Britain, and we know that those already planning their visits will find the Best of Britain App to be invaluable both before they travel and when they arrive.”
So... what do you think? Will the Olympics have a positive impact on the hotel sector? Will it only benefit properties in London, or could it in fact have a negative impact for parts of the sector? Cast your votes in BigHospitality's new Facebook poll , and let us know your thoughts!