Rooms Still Available in London During Olympics

Ever since London was chosen as the host city for the 2012 Olympic Games, hotel developers have been building and renovating furiously, leading to a massive increase in rooms throughout the city.

But did they overestimate how many people would want to stay in the city during the Games? ABC News, citing Hotels.com, is reporting that that London room rates have fallen 25 percent from their highs in the last few weeks. And Travelocity reported that prices on some London hotels are as much as 40 percent off regular rates during the Olympic period.

The lower prices are due, in part, to the last round of rooms being released by the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games (LOCOG) in late June. Back in 2005, the committee reserved 40,000 of the city's 140,000 rooms, said Nigel Pocklington, CMO of Hotels.com, who also noted that many hotels that set minimum stay requirements have lifted those in an effort to attract business.

Some of the hotel vacancies may be attributed to the growth in the vacation rental market. HomeAway.com said there has been a 333 percent growth in the number of listings in London since 2011.

Event tickets are still available, too. As of press time, tickets for men's gymnastics, women's football, rowing, volleyball, boxing and more could be purchased. Visit tickets.london2012.com. According to the website, event tickets are being released on a near-daily basis.

JacTravel, a UK-based wholesaler, has observed a substantial decline in hotel rates this summer. Rates during the Games have recently come down from what they call "very inflated levels" and are now around 40 percent higher than normal. Rates after the Games are currently 15-20 percent down on the same period last year.
 
As an example, four-star hotels quoting wholesale rates of $465-$620 have dropped them by around 50% to £160-£165. Declines in the lower categories have been even more substantial, with some two-star properties cutting trade prices 75 percent from $310 to $77.
 
"Hotel prices during the Olympics are now at the kind of levels we expect during events such as Wimbledon or the Chelsea Flower Show," said JacTravel Director Angela Skelly, also noting that many of the values are extending to mid to late August.

Even major hotels like the Ritz are offering special last-minute deals and packages: The hotel has a Closing Ceremony Programme that includes guests' choice of one or two night's accommodation with English breakfast the following morning and dinner for two.

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