London may need special quality standard for hotels because too many offer inconsistent service or are over-priced, suggests a consultation document issued by the London Development Agency.
Called Towards a Tourism Strategy in London, the study will feed into a three-year tourism strategy for the capital that will embrace such issues as the funding and marketing framework for London tourism, the environment and transport.
The document suggests that “London has too much low-quality accommodation that is only viable because of under-supply and high prices being sustainable”.
It argues that some form of statutory or voluntary “fit-for-purpose” standard could help level things up. According to the London Tourist Board (LTB), 47% of London hotels do not take up existing quality classification schemes.
LTB managing director Paul Hopper said one-third of visitors leaving London comment negatively about the price or variable quality of their accommodation, primarily in the middle to lower end of the market.
Visitors’ experience of London can affect their overall view of the country because nearly 54% of tourists enter the UK through London. The figure is just under 20% for New York or Paris.
The document also examines planning issues, claiming that current bedroom targets are unambitious and that London will need 35,000 extra beds by 2016. It also suggests that developers are over-cautious about building hotels in advance of tourism developments.
It claims that London would benefit from more budget hotels, that both business and domestic tourism are under-promoted, and that the capital lacks purpose-built international standard convention facilities.