theWorks - the Nexus Blog

london's burning

The BBC's satirical Olympics sitcom , Twenty Twelve, recently ran an episode that featured the Royal Family looking for ways to hang the Diamond Jubilee on the coat tails of the Olympic Games in a bid to boost the profile of the Queen's celebrations. The hapless Olympic PR team came up with the memorably awful phrase 'Jubilympics' as a means of bridging the gap between the two festivals.

While Jubilympics may be confined to the realms of comedy fiction, back in the real world London's hotels have captured the spirit of 'memorably awful' by ensuring that the capital's hotel rates remain eye-wateringly high for the entire Jubilympic period. Room rates at double, triple, quadruple the normal price are naturally provoking a backlash of negative opinion. But now - how predictable - come the stories of a demand slump during the Games. JacTravel is reporting bookings to be as much as 30% down on the same period last year as visitors avoid London and Locog, the Olympic organisers, release thousands of rooms back on to the market, adding to what is already a glut of unsold inventory.

We've been through this cycle of unrealised profiteering so many times that I begin to despair that anyone in the industry can find a sensible, revenue management centred approach to pricing that sees through the demand hype, anticipates mass room block releases, is perceived as 'fair' by the market, and maximises RevPar for the whole season, not just during an event.

Hotels always need to be reminded that there are alternatives. During the 2010 World Cup in South Africa it was reported that visitors saved money by staying in hostels and on camp sites. Last weekend the Queen and millions of her subjects watched 1,000 boats sail down the Thames in the pouring rain. It only needs one enterprising soul to sign them up as floating rooms...now there's a Jubilympic idea.

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