by Hugh Morris, The Daily Telegraph, January 30, 2018
England football fans face paying more than 11 times the typical cost of a hotel room when they travel to Russia this summer for the World Cup.
Accommodation owners in cities set to host matches for Russia 2018 - including lesser-known destinations such as Yekaterinburg, Saransk and Nizhny Novgorod - are hiking up their prices ahead of the tournament in June and July, with an average increase of 377 per cent.
Research by hotel comparison website Trivago found that fans bound for England’s group stage matches will pay at least three times the usual price for a bed for the night.
Gareth Southgate’s team will face Tunisia in its opening game in Volgograd, where the usual room rate is £37.80. For the night of June 18, when England kick off at 7pm BST, it has risen 247 per cent on 2017’s price to £162.80.
For England’s second game, taking place a week later in Nizhny Novgorod against Panama, the price of a hotel bed on June 24 has risen from £39 to £240, more than six times the cost.
But the largest hike for Three Lions supporters will be for those who travel to the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad to watch England’s probable departure from the tournament when they play Belgium on June 28. The cost of a hotel room has soared from an average June cost of £45 to £500, more than 11 times the usual price.
A glance at accommodation-sharing site Airbnb for the night of June 28 reveals a similar picture, with prices from around £266 per night for a three-bed apartment. However, prices stretch up to £1,284 per night for a two-bed flat. Another two-bed flat costs £908 per night.
Even greater outlays lie in wait for other fans or those of teams who reach the group stage with hotels in the city of Saransk, where Peru, Denmark, Colombia and Japan play, guilty of the largest hikes. Research by Trivago found increases of 2,489 per cent for June 2018 prices compared to the summer month last year.
At the end of last year, Russia’s Federal Tourism Agency (RFAT) pledged to name and shame hotels found to be extorting visiting football fans, highlighting one establishment in Kaliningrad charging £1,628 for a room. Another zero-star hotel was found to be adding a 1,171 per cent surcharge.
A spokesperson for Visit Russia told Telegraph Travel that the RFAT was “dealing with the matter”.
Prices in the capital, Moscow, where the final will take place on July 15, and where England will play their first knock-out stage game, should they finish second in their group, are up 111 per cent compared with July last year.
The smallest price increases to be found in a host city is 27 per cent in Kazan, where France, Australia, Iran and Spain compete in the group stage.
Accommodation in St Petersburg will be 70 per cent more expensive in June.
Such price-hiking is not a new phenomenon. Ahead of the Sochi Winter Olympics in 2014, prices more than doubled, while accommodation in Cardiff for the Champions League final last year peaked at £3,040 a night.
In 2016 hotels in Santa Clara, California, for Super Bowl 50 were up by at least double, while in 2014, an investigation into prices for the Champions League final in Lisbon found that some hotels hiked rates by 1,202 per cent .
The cost of flights to France for the Euros in 2016, as well as accommodation once there, rose starkly as the tournament neared .
Analysis by Telegraph Travel found that the price of a two-night break for two people staying in the cheapest available hotel on a mainstream booking site and using the cheapest available travel methods was up to £1,300 more expensive during the tournament in June than in May.