SBD/April 22, 2011/Olympics

Premier Inn Balks At Deal To Provide Discounted Hotel Rooms For London Games

Premier Inn upset LOCOG passed on some rooms to third-party ticket providers
Premier Inn, "one of the biggest budget hotel chains" in the U.K., "has suddenly pulled out of providing thousands of hotel rooms at preferential discounted rates" during the '12 London Olympics, according to Jacquelin Magnay of the London TELEGRAPH. Other hotels, "particularly Thistle Group, Hilton Worldwide and some Mayfair hotels," are "seriously considering withdrawing their rooms too -- putting at risk the accommodation for some Olympic officials and guests." Officials for the hotels are "furious that they had committed to providing" LOCOG a "large percentage of rooms under a fixed-price preferential scheme, based on the previous three years' rates, only to discover LOCOG had passed on some of those rooms to their third-party ticket providers, Thomas Cook and U.S.-based CoSport." The prices being charged by Thomas Cook and CoSport "have up to 300 per cent markups." Weeks of negotiations between LOCOG and the British Hospitality Association have "failed to resolve the row." The hotels are "refusing to sign agreements with the two ticket providers and scores of hotels have told LOCOG to formally withdraw their hotel rooms from the scheme or from providing them to any third parties" (London TELEGRAPH, 4/22).

HOT MARKET: The TELEGRAPH's Magnay reports LOCOG officials are "bullish about the number of ticket orders placed in the public ballot but are expecting a big rush of applications on Sunday night." Sources said that there has been "huge demand for popular finals tickets and pleasing levels of interest in some of the mid-tier and less popular sports." As expected, the "highly sought-after events have been the opening ceremony, the swimming finals and preliminaries, cycling finals, track and field, diving, gymnastics and equestrian -- all of which have been flooded with applications." All oversubscribed sessions "will be subject to a ballot." There are 6.6 million tickets "for sale in this public ticket offer, and while there will be future sales opportunities, this current ballot is the best chance of securing a seat." LOCOG CEO Paul Deighton said that he expects to have about US$165M worth of tickets "still to sell when the ballot closes at midnight on Tuesday," representing 20% of LOCOG's ticketing revenue target of about US$825M (London TELEGRAPH, 4/22).
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