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Hospitality industry slams those who exploited London terror attacks

08 July 2005
Hospitality industry slams those who exploited London terror attacks

The hospitality industry has reacted with horror to claims that hotels in the capital increased their prices following yesterday's terrorist attacks.

Claims on the BBC's website that a number of hotels increased their prices by more than 50% were met with caution by Bob Cotton, chief executive of the British Hospitality Association.

However, Cotton said he was not certain all hotels operated in a responsible manner, adding: "I can't put my hand on my heart and say there wasn't one hotel, somewhere, that increased its prices, but I want to see the evidence."

Richard Lyon, general manager of the five-star, 356-bedroom Renaissance Chancery Court hotel in Holborn, London, said: "If some hotels have done that then I certainly don't think it was the right thing to do. It's something that we would never even contemplate. Our ballroom was being used as a police de-briefing centre and we provided food and overnight rooms to the police free of charge."

It has been estimated that London hotels were 90% full before yesterday's incidents.

Lastminute.com, were quoted on the BBC's website as warning customers about the hike in room rates within two hours of the first blast. A spokeswoman today said the company was investigating the issue, but not aware of any operators increasing it's prices.

She said: "It is a free market, some may have increased their prices, but we have no control over it."

Big hotel groups including Hilton, Marriott and Intercontinental said they had ensured prices were not increased.

However, members of the public e-mailed the BBC News website with their experiences, one saying they paid £270 for a £65 room. "It is pathetic that they are cashing in during such bad circumstances."

Another member of the public told the BBC he paid £250 for a room normally costing £80.

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