My Big Mouth: Can London hotels be criticised for raising prices during the Olympics?


As London 2012 nears SWLondoner’s Asif Faruque looks into just how many London hotels will be cashing in during the Olympic period.


By Asif Faruque

“If there’s money to be made, I’m all in” – 50 Cent, rapper and entrepreneur.

Taking a leaf from the book of New York rap music the London hotel industry are thinking money.

The 2012 London Olympics have managed to split opinions like little else, hailed by some as the panacea for a dawdling economy and a growing national deficit; a way to bolster the GDP and a means to inject cash into the oft-neglected East of London.

For others the benefits of the Olympics never seem to outweigh the drawbacks; the White Elephant of modern times, the games are drawing on a huge amount of public resources; police, portaloos and taxpayer money are all in high demand as the 27th of July rapidly approaches. 

The basic principles of economy teach us that prices rise with increased demand. 

Are the hotel owners in and around London really to blame for raising their prices during the Olympic period? If there are people willing and able to pay it, I see no harm.

To give a few notable examples, the Premier Inn Victoria is charging a non-refundable £199 a night during the games, for dates outside however, rooms return to their normal £87 a night.

Premier Inn Old Street rooms start from £75 outside the games dates, during the games expect to pay no less than £199 for a room.

The games aren’t just a cash-cow for hoteliers – it’s no surprise landlords are playing a similar game.

Contractual agreements for recent tenants in the East of London stipulate they must vacate their properties during the games in order to make way for tourists with deeper pockets.

Perhaps it is time to readjust our priorities when hard-working Londoner’s are legally evicted from their homes just for the sake of a landlord’s cash-grab.

The question that needs answering is: Would they do the same if the tables were turned? Would I? Probably not. But my business isn’t making money.

When you are in that business – it’s said you can never make enough. But does a line need to be drawn now? Shadow minister for London and the Olympics and Labour MP Tessa Jowell is adamant that one does.

Speaking in the Commons last month she labelled the price hikes a “scandal” and retold the story of a woman in Exeter who paid £1000 a night for her room. A room which normally cost £375 during the Easter holidays.

What makes the story doubly-tragic is the room in question was for her disabled daughter who needed it for its specially fitted track-hoist.

In the midst of a double-dip recession, the Olympics can’t come at a better time. Jobs will be made and London will be rejuvenated – not only financially but with a renewed optimism.

However, I suggest we cash-in with London’s moral compass firmly in place. If there’s money to be made Britain must go all in, but not at the cost of its principles.

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