'Eurovision fever' hits Liverpool as hotels asked not to hike prices
"Eurovision fever" has seen fans flock to book accommodation in Liverpool and prompted complaints that some providers have hiked-up prices.
Demand soared even before the city was confirmed as the host of the 2023 competition, and Booking.com reported that 97% of accommodation was unavailable on 13 May, the night of the final.
The contest is being held in the UK next summer on behalf of 2022 winners Ukraine.
A spokesperson for Travelodge said: "As soon as Liverpool was shortlisted as one of the host city destinations for the 2023 Eurovision Song Contest, our 14 Merseyside Travelodge hotels started to get booked up from all corners of the UK and Europe.
"Now we are seeing demand rising for Travelodge hotels within a 35-mile radius of Liverpool which includes Chester, Manchester and Warrington. 'Eurovision fever' is certainly hitting the north west of England."
The organisers of Eurovision warned fans not to book at unreasonably inflated prices while hoteliers and short-term let providers were asked not to hike prices, as it would not be "in the spirit or ethos of the event".
Tim Hentschel, co-founder and chief executive of hotel booking platform HotelPlanner, which powers online reservations for Visit Liverpool, said: "The rates in Liverpool city centre for May 2023 are up over 200% year on year for four and five-star properties and hotel bookings are fast being taken up, meaning the majority of rooms left in the city centre are apartments which are going for between £500 - £900 pounds a night.
"This is an increase of £150 - £300 per night compared to May this year. For more affordable options, travellers to the city for Eurovision might want to consider staying on the outskirts of the city. Two and three-star properties around 10 miles or more outside the city centre are still reasonably priced around the £100 mark per night."
Screenshots posted on Twitter showed accommodation in Liverpool between 12-14 May being advertised for more than £6,000. The BBC also reported that a house is being offered at just under £8,000 on the night of the competition.
Chris Brown, director of Marketing Liverpool, told The Caterer: "We are disappointed in the minority of hoteliers and accommodation owners who are trying to profit from Liverpool's Eurovision win which is not in the spirit or ethos of the event. However, this is something we did predict, as it happens in cities across the world when major events take place.
"We do have a plan which was part of our bid to ensure we can open up a range of accommodation options for people wanting to come to Liverpool for Eurovision, which will embrace the wider city region as well as Manchester and Cheshire."
He added: "We are going to spend the next few weeks finalising details and working with a wide range of potential providers and will announce more in the near future."
Some hotels have been designated for use by Eurovision and are awaiting further details before widening sales to the general public.
Scott Brown, area director of sales at Innside UK North, which runs the Innside hotel in Liverpool, said: "At Innside Liverpool we have currently closed availability due to a commitment that we have with organisers of Eurovision. We are working hard to confirm the organiser's requirements and look forward to opening the remaining bookings to visitors.
"Our aim is to price appropriately, as we do with all major entertainment and sporting events in the city that cause an increase in tourism demand."
Image: Ukraine's winning entry Kalush Orchestra perform at the 2022 competition
Credit: EUPA-IMAGES / Shutterstock