Tourism bosses fear unwanted Olympic legacy: empty rooms

Hotels slash prices to as little as £10 a night in desperate attempt to stay full after Games finish

An "Olympic hangover" could see London turn into a ghost town bereft of tourists immediately after the Games.

The Olympics begin next month and conclude with the closing ceremonies on 12 August. Heathrow airport predicts that the following day will be the busiest in its history for outbound passengers. The mass exodus is expected to be so swift that hotels adjacent to the Olympic Stadium have been offering rooms at the end of that week for less than £10 per person per night.

Senior figures in tourism have told The Independent of fears that "normal" visitors will stay away from London all summer. Nick Varney, chief executive of Britain's leading attractions operator, Merlin, said: "The travel trade who normally bring tourist groups have basically switched away from London. Hotel rooms have gone up in price, and they've thought, 'We don't even want to deal with being in London through that summer period'. So immediately, there's a trade hit."

Hotel rates in the aftermath of the Olympics have slumped. The new Premier Inn beside the Olympic Park in Stratford is charging £199 a room per night during the Olympics. But by Friday 17 August the hotel is cutting prices by over 80 per cent to just £39 – the rate at which The Independent secured a booking for a family of four.

Stratford is not a recognised tourist area, so a steep decline in demand once the Games are over is to be expected. But hotels in the tourist heartland of the capital are also cutting rates dramatically. The Travelodge in Covent Garden is selling twin rooms on Friday 17 August for under £43 – less than the cost of a modest dinner in the area and a quarter of the price charged a week earlier.

The pattern is repeated at the top end of the market. The Trafalgar Hilton has availability on only a few nights during the Games, when its lowest room rate is £630. From the night of 13 August onwards, this falls by almost £500 for guests who book ahead.

The Olympics rate for the Claude Monet one-bedroom suite at the Savoy is £6,900. This includes "the river views that inspired Monet to paint" as well as the services of a butler. But by waiting a few days prospective guests can save more than £4,000.

Christopher Rodrigues, chairman of VisitBritain, said: "The benchmark standard for major events is that they cause a drop in inbound tourism in the year in which they happen." But he added: "So far we're doing better than flat".

London's deputy mayor, Kit Malthouse, said: "After the Games, there will be an exaggerated effect of people staying away because they're uncertain about what state the city is in."

Meanwhile, the Paralympics – which run from 29 August to 9 September – are pushing up rates at the Premier Inn adjacent to the stadium to £189.

Cheap rooms: How to find a bargain

Visitors to London will have an opportunity to snap up some of the 150,000 beds available in the capital at bargain rates after the Olympics are over.

As with low-cost airlines, avoid the busy times and you can pay a fraction of peak rates. The difference this year is that mid-August – when the capital is normally thronged with visitors – is low season.

The hotels' own websites are usually the best places to buy. Many hotel chains guarantee that the room rates offered direct will not be undercut. But further searching online can also turn up better deals.

Gold rush: the best post-games deals

The Savoy, Claude Monet Suite

£6,900 during Games. £2,634 after Games (-62%)

Premier Inn, Stratford

£199 during Games. £39 after Games (-80%)

Sofitel, Heathrow

£229 during Games. £95 after Games (-58%)

Hilton Trafalgar

£630 during Games. £131 after Games (-79%)

St Pancras Renaissance

£678 during Games. £260 after Games (-62%)

All rates are the lowest available researched online direct with hotels' booking sites on the afternoon of 18 June 2012. The Olympics rate is for 10 August, or for the closest date with availability. The post-Olympics rate is for 17/18 August.

News
Disruption at Waterloo after a person was hit by a train
newsCancellations and disrupted service after person hit by train
News
Kirsty Bertarelli is launching a singing career with an album of songs detailing her observations of “real life”
news
News
The show will be billed as Clarkson, Hammond and May Live
people
Arts and Entertainment
The almost deserted Liverpool Echo Arena on Monday
tvCan X Factor last in the face of plummeting numbers auditioning
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Recruitment Genius: Content Assistant / Copywriter

    £15310 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity has arisen for a...

    Recruitment Genius: Operations Manager

    £24000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Situated in the heart of Bradfo...

    Recruitment Genius: Hotel Reception Manager

    £18750 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Hotel in Chadderton is a popular ch...

    Guru Careers: Marketing and Communications Manager

    £Competitive (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Marketing and Co...

    Day In a Page

    Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

    Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

    How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
    Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

    Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

    Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
    Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

    Aviation history is littered with grand failures

    But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
    Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

    Fortress Europe?

    Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
    Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

    Never mind what you're wearing

    It's what you're reclining on that matters
    General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

    Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

    The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
    Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

    Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

    Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
    Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

    Marginal Streets project documents voters

    Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
    Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

    The real-life kingdom of Westeros

    Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
    How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

    How to survive a Twitter mauling

    Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
    Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

    At dawn, the young remember the young

    A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
    Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

    Follow the money as never before

    Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
    Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

    Samuel West interview

    The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
    General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

    Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

    Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
    Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

    Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

    The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence