Hotel bookings website Hotels.com has warned consumers to book London hotel rooms early ahead of the Olympics, after it emerged that major sporting events elsewhere in the world led to significant hotel price increases in the first half of 2011.
The latest Hotels.com Hotel Price Index (HPI) showed how booking demand for the six-week Rugby World Cup in New Zealand contributed to sharp rises, with average room rates in the host cities of Wellington up 29% to £73 per night and Auckland up 11% to £68 per night. The overall rate in New Zealand itself also rose 14% to £70.
As well as big rugby showpieces, the Hotels.com report reveals how Formula One Grand Prix racing can affect prices and occupancy rates in venue cities, with the sport being one of the factors behind a 22% jump in Melbourne to £96 and a 5% rise in Barcelona to £102.
Sports fans also helped to boost the price of a room in London by 3% to £113 with the city at full occupancy for the Wimbledon tennis tournament.
But the latest HPI also showed how prices can fall dramatically after a major sporting event such as the football World Cup in South Africa in 2010. The country saw its average room rate tumble by 17% in the first six months of this year to £105, with host cities Cape Town down 20% to £100 and Johannesburg down 13% to £111.
Alison Couper of Hotels.com said: "Prestige sporting events are one of the key drivers of hotel prices and can lead to double-digit percentage increases, as many rugby fans are finding at the moment.
"What is happening in New Zealand and what happened in South Africa could provide a foretaste for what might occur in London next year.
"It is expected that several thousand additional hotel rooms will be available in the city in the run-up to the 2012 Olympics."
The Hotels.com HPI tracks the real prices paid per hotel room (rather than advertised rates) for 125,000 properties across more than 19,000 locations around the world. The latest HPI looks at prices in the first half of 2011 compared to those in the first half of 2010.
By Neil Gerrard
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