‘Cash is king’ when trying to capture last-minute accommodation in London during the Olympics period, according to Marriott Hotels’ Ernie Kane.
Speaking at the ‘Rising to the Challenge of Summer 2012’ event hosted by COPE UK (The Council of Protocol Executives) at the St Pancras Renaissance, London, Kane told the corporate buyers that accommodation was still available throughout London, with the release of unwanted rooms by LOCOG helping to ease waiting lists. Moreover, the need for a 17-night stay across the entire Olympics period had been relaxed, he said.
“While we’d ideally like a 17-night stay - and before Christmas that was a demand - now if you need a two to three night stay, if we have the flexibility we’ll try and help. Dare I say it, cash is king. Cash helps drive discounts,” he added, noting that most major hotel chains were not accepting credit cards for room blocks during the Games period as the transaction fees became too high given the long stays. Hotels were typically demanding 50 per cent payment non-refundable on contract, while regular corporate clients could negotiate deposit schedules, he added.
High-end suites at five-star Marriott properties during the Games were selling from £950, with four-star room rates from between £200 to £350+ for groups. Final rooming lists had to be completed by June 25.
Meanwhile, David MacCallum, sales director at Prestige Ticketing, said while a lot of the ‘AA’ hospitality events had sold out, including the Opening Ceremony and top-end athletics, there were still B and C opportunities available. Options now could include taking shared tables or boxes where there was availability, he added.
A deal with Ticketmaster also meant there was now online availability for booking corporate hospitality, with a limit of 20 tickets per company.