Hoteliers have been urged not to rip off guests during the 2012 Olympics as they search for creative way to increase income in the run-up to the games and for their duration.
Speaking at the Master Innholders' 17th annual hotel general mangers' conference, Christopher Hale, head of London 2012, InterContinental Hotel Group, said that hotels should learn from properties in Atlanta in 1996 and Athens in 2004, which were left with empty rooms, partly as a result of charging extortionate rates.
"Boost business by transforming car parks into banqueting spaces, upscaling spa and gym facilities and extending food and beverage opening hours to accommodate spectators arriving back late from events," he said.
Plans are advanced for the signing up of nearly 53,000 bedrooms per night in London during the Olympics, which run from 27 July to 12 August 2012, and between 6,000 and 10,000 rooms for the duration of the Paralympics from 29 August to 9 September 2012.
One of the official sponsors, Coca-Cola, will be bringing 10,000 people to London for the event.
"We'll be looking to secure exclusive use of specific hotels," said Malcolm Plows, venue operations director, Coca-Cola. "We'll also need to accommodate a team of 500 staff."
Chris Holmes, director of Paralympic Integration, London 2012, said that hotels should make the most of the opportunity to showcase themselves to a variety of athletes with special needs on a scale never seen before.
The conference was also told that the 2018 World Cup has the potential of being even more lucrative for the hospitality industry than the 2012 Olympics.
David Hornby, who is responsible for accommodation, hospitality, ticketing and events for England's bid as the host nation for the 2018 World Cup, said that the 31-day event, involving 64 matches throughout 12 cities, would have a bedroom requirement of 160,000 per night.
"It could result in the biggest hotel room allocation ever to be secured," he said.
England will make its bid for the World Cup in May, with the final decision on the 2018 venue being made in December. Russia and Spain/Portugal are expected to be England's strongest rivals.
By Janet Harmer
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