Olympics – London hotels price crash!

You may remember back in April we featured the prices certain hotels were hoping to charge during the Olympics. Well, we read at the weekend that tourist related businesses in London are beginning to panic in terms of bookings both during the event and for the rest of the summer (the British weather can’t be helping either). That includes hotels, restaurants and West End shows.

So we thought we’d go back and take a look at the hotels we featured in April, and see how their prices on Expedia compare now.

Firstly, we have the Camelot House Hotel near Paddington, which in April was quoting no less than £2653.77 for three nights in a double room over the middle Olympic weekend. Now? You can have a Triple room for just £630.

Then we have the Pacific Hotel in the same part of London. In April, they were looking for a mere £1577.85 for three nights. Now they’ll do you a double room for £525 for the same Friday – Monday period.

Grand, Trafalgar Square

We reserved our praise last time for the Grand, off Trafalgar Square, who were charging a not too ridiculous £1184.40 (given it is a much higher-rated hotel than the others featured here). And even their rate has seen a significant reduction, to £920 for three nights.

So, while maybe they are still not exactly bargains, it now looks like if you still need a room in London during the Olympics, you don’t have to get ripped off too badly. Mind you, if you paid £2000 plus when you booked ahead, you may be feeling somewhat sick now. Timing is everything in buying, as we know!

Looking at prices for later in August, post the event, there are some real bargains emerging, which supports the report of poor forward bookings. Have a look at the “Top Secret” hotel sites, and you can get a very good four star central London hotel for around £100 midweek in August – a rare event indeed.

One other point from all this. The whole hotel market has changed completely in terms of pricing strategy since the growth of the Internet. It’s now – as we can see from this analysis – a market with quite incredible price volatility, as rates change in a real-time response to fluctuations in supply and demand. Much like Oil, Cocoa, or Gold really – but arguably even more volatile.  So with our procurement hat on – have major travel buyers responded to this, because we know that commodity markets require different strategies to other markets? Are the most innovative travel buyers using new approaches – or is it still a case of locking up deals based on a guaranteed room nights agreement (as I used to do many years ago in this market)?

I don’t know the answer to that – it’s quite a few years since I bought travel – but I’d be interested to hear from any buyers who are taking advantage of this change in the dynamics of the market.


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