German hoteliers left fuming after FIFA cancels hotel bookings

18 May 2006
German hoteliers left fuming after FIFA cancels hotel bookings

Hoteliers in Berlin have attacked FIFA for cancelling thousands of room bookings just three weeks before the World Cup and leaving their hotels half empty during the tournament.

The international football body reserved 8,000 rooms in the German capital and marketed them at much higher prices through its own marketing agency, World Cup Accommodation Services (WCAS).

But despite seats being sold out for all six matches in Berlin's Olympia stadium, fans did not rush to reserve rooms through WCAS, and now FIFA has cancelled 5,000 of the pre-bookings.

Hanns Peter Nerger, director of Berlin's tourism association, criticised FIFA for not advertising enough and said: "Some major mistakes have been made. It didn't pay to use the World Cup to try to increase room rates."

He said the average rate for a room in a Berlin four-star hotel is €127 (£86) - less than half for similar accommodation in London, Milan or Paris.

Nerger added that room occupancy during the football tournament will drop to just 60% - far below normal summer levels.

Hotel Palace Berlin director Kurt Lehrke, said: "We had many, many enquiries from around the world but were unable to give the rooms away because they were already reserved. From the start, we wanted closer co-operation with FIFA to avoid such a situation."

Berlin tourism >>

By Jim Glenn

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