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LOCOG must act now to save hotel agreement

22 April 2011 by
LOCOG must act now to save hotel agreement

It was never meant to be like this. When London was awarded host nation status for the 2012 Olympic Games in 2005, who could have predicted that, six years later, the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games (LOCOG) would have resorted to releasing room stock to third-party travel agents for commercial resale at extortionate mark-ups?

The euphoria of that happy day in July was heightened by the fact that LOCOG and the hospitality industry had worked together so closely to secure the Games. There was a very real sense that all stakeholders were pulling together to achieve a common goal.

Now the relationship between the two parties is in danger of fracturing. The 40,000 rooms that our hotels had provided at preferential rates for the use of the "Olympic family" were crucial to the success of the London bid. But in the past two months, it has emerged that Thomas Cook and CoSport are selling some of these rooms in packages priced at up to 10 times the rates provided by hotel operators.

Having played their part in securing the 2012 Games, hoteliers now face suffering reputational damage through perceived association with agents' profiteering.

LOCOG's position is no doubt an uncomfortable one. Taking back rooms from Thomas Cook and CoSport that the two agents are already selling on at such huge mark-ups will be easier said than done. Nevertheless, it must find a way to do so, if it is to honour its agreement with London's hotels. If it does not, it will soon find many other operators joining Premier Inn in withdrawing their rooms from the agreement forged in 2005.

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Jacobs Media Group is honoured to be the recipient of the 2020 Queen's Award for Enterprise.

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