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Hotels overcharging during Olympics could harm UK tourism

20 May 2008 by
Hotels overcharging during Olympics could harm UK tourism

Hotels overcharging and providing bad customer service during the 2012 Olympics in London could cause long-term damage to the hospitality industry, experts have warned.

At a Hotel Marketing Association event at the Chesterfield hotel in London's Mayfair, industry leaders said the sector needed to provide damage control in case hotels take advantage of the event to inflate prices.

David Clarke, chief executive of Best Western Hotels, said: "Destiny is in our hands and I hope we do deliver the service people expect of the capital. I hope the charges to stay in London are not inflated because of the Olympics.

We've done a good job making commitments at the British Hospitality Association but prices will have to be policed, the government really have no idea of the effect this could have."

The British Hospitality Assocation (BHA) agreed, warning that overpricing would give the UK "a bad name".

"We all know the huge dangers that are associated with overpricing- it deters people from coming and gives us as a country a bad name," a spokesman said.

"We can't stop it happening, we just have to be aware of it and to try to get the message across that in the long run it's not a good idea. We need to keep prices steady so people think they are getting good value."

Lawrence Alexander, chief executive of Easyhotel, expressed doubt over whether the industry could provide a great standard of service. "In order for hotels to do well we need to make certain to show the nature of our country in the best possible light.

"We want visitors to enjoy this great country, but I fear it won't happen. We need more of a campaign prior to the event to let the industry know that we've got one chance to get it right," he said.

For more on the Games see our London Olympics news round up>>

Green light to build hotel within London's Trocadero Centre>>

Mayor of London urged to make good on promises ahead of Olympics>>

By Gemma Sharkey

E-mail your comments to Gemma Sharkey here.

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