Cardiff is set to become the most expensive host city during the 2015 Rugby World Cup, with average room rates reaching an astonishing £1,018 for the quarter final at Millennium Stadium on 17 October. This is a rise of 1,095% on the average of £85 last year.
The findings come from hotel search website Trivago, which has released its analysis of hotel prices and availability in the 11 host cities. With just nine days to go before the start of the tournament, it revealed that a hotel stay on a match night will cost an average of £261 (instead of the £92 average rate in 2014).
Six of the most expensive matches will take place in Cardiff. After the quarter final on 17 October, the next-most expensive matches include France v Ireland on 11 October, showing a 988% increase to £927 for an overnight stay, and the quarter final on 18 October at £630, a 640% increase.
"The hotel price increases in Cardiff are the most extreme we have ever reported for an event in the UK," said Denise Bartlett, a spokeswoman for Trivago. "For the World Cup in Brazil last year, hotel prices peaked at an average of £328, with a maximum increase of 243%. The average in Cardiff for all match nights is £574, which is 140% more expensive than a night in London during the Rugby World Cup (average of £240), despite London being the UK's most expensive city for a hotel stay.
Although Cardiff is showing the least hotel availability, with 1% to 28% of rooms remaining, there is little correlation between prices and availability in some other cities. Brighton, for instance, is the second-most expensive match city, charging an average rate of £376, some 363% above the 2014 average, for the 19 September Russia v Japan game. But it has 56% availability.
Newcastle has the lowest availability, with 0% remaining for South Africa v Scotland on 3 October and 1% availability for New Zealand v Tonga on 9 October. Room rates for those nights are up 252% and 261% respectively.
Leeds has the highest hotel availability for Scotland v USA on 27 September, with 62% of rooms still unbooked. Prices are 15% up on 2014 at an average of £180 a night.
Birmingham, Leeds and Leicester are the cheapest match cities. The Australia v Uruguay game in Birmingham on 27 September is seeing an average of £98, a 26% increase from £78 in 2014. This is followed by Scotland v USA in Leeds also on 27 September, with a 15% increase to £100.
Although the three matches in Leicester are comparatively cheap for a hotel stay, ranging from £105 to £126, the average price per night during 2014 was £65, meaning the city has hiked prices by 62% to 95%.
London is one of the most expensive host cities, but it has the lowest price increases (some match nights have only increased by 9% compared with last year). Its most expensive matches are, unsurprisingly, the final on 31 October and the home match of England v Australia on 3 October. A hotel on the night of the final will cost an average of £334 (up 103% from £165 in 2014) and there is still 33% availability. The night of England v Australia will cost £332 (up 101%), with 29% of rooms still vacant.
"Saturday is the most popular match day in the UK, with 17 matches scheduled on Saturdays, hotel availability at 22% (6% below the average availability of 28%) and hotel prices at an average of £315 (21% above the average)," said Bartlett.
The research was based on rates quoted between 1 January and 31 August 2015 and 1 January to 31 August 2014. Trivago said hotel availability was correct as of 1 September and is likely to drop further as the matches approach.
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