JACTRAVEL, a UK-based wholesaler of hotel accommodation, has forecasted a dramatic slump in London hotel bookings during the upcoming 2012 Summer Olympic Games.
Based on a comparison with its forward bookings at this time last year for London and other European cities, JacTravel believes that average occupancy levels in London will drop by around 30 per cent year-on-year during the Olympic period.
The wholesaler reports that London hotel bookings in July are currently more than 35 per cent down on 2011, while August bookings are almost 30 per cent down. By comparison, bookings in major European cities are substantially up, some by more than 100 per cent.
JacTravel CEO, Mario Bodini, said: “There is a tragic irony in the numbers we are seeing. London will be a fantastic place to visit in July and August, with lots of cultural activities taking place around the Olympics, in addition to all the city’s well-known attractions. It is a time when the place should be heaving, but instead, it is likely to be comparatively empty.”
While postulating that the dampened demand for London could be due to travellers waiting to see if rates fall before committing to booking, JacTravel believes it is more likely the result of a displacement effect, with regular visitors deciding to avoid London in July and August owing to the presence of the Olympics.
JacTravel also attributed the dismal booking numbers to the longhaul market being driven away from London by prohibitive hotel prices and punitive booking conditions during the event.