The Greater London Authority's London 2012 unit has apologised to hoteliers for the "unwarranted criticism" they may have received after Boris Johnson inaccurately attacked hotels for hiking up London room prices ahead of the Olympics.
In a letter to the British Hospitality Association, Neale Coleman, the mayor's advisor on the Olympic and Paralympic Games, said that at the time both he and Johnson had "not been fully briefed" about the room rate row involving LOCOG, Thomas Cook and the hotel industry.
Johnson slammed hotels in March for inflating room rate prices, taking advantage of guests and sending out the wrong message about London. He also called on hoteliers to sign up to the new fair pricing charter in order "to distance themselves from these sharks".
But the GLA letter sent to BHA chief executive Ufi Ibrahim apologised for the oversight and said steps were being taken to encourage accurate reporting around Olympic hotel pricing in the future.
"At the time unfortunately neither the mayor nor I were fully briefed on the situation involving LOCOG, Thomas Cook and the hotel industry," Coleman wrote. "I am very sorry if this has led to your members understandably feeling they were being subject to unwarranted criticism for something for which they were not responsible. As agreed we have taken steps to ensure that the mayor is now fully up to speed on the issues."
Last month Caterer reported how hoteliers that had provided rooms for the London 2012 Olympics at preferential rates had ripped up their agreements with organisers after it emerged that Thomas Cook was selling rooms in packages at up to 10 times the rates provided by hotels.
Coleman pointed out that the mayor had now been fully briefed and press enquiring about the price of London hotel rooms available through the Thomas Cook packages would be told that Thomas Cook was responsible for the prices in its Games Break packages, not the individual hotels and hoteliers concerned. On the general issue of hotel pricing, the mayor would explain how London's hotel industry had played an important role in London's winning Olympic bid through the agreements it made to provide fairly priced hotel accommodation for the Olympic family.
A BHA spokesman said: "The situation remains as it was: the industry is waiting for LOCOG to respect the agreement made with the industry that the rooms provided were to be used for the ‘Olympic family' and were not to be sold on to a tour operator for use in Olympic packages. We are still awaiting a detailed response from LOCOG on this."
By Helen Gilbert
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