[photopress:Kempinski_hotel_near_Olympics.jpg,full,alignright]You are going to the Olympics and you have not yet booked your hotel room? Lots of luck, Charlie. Yes, there is more than a year to go but some of the best hotels are totally booked out. As in totally.
A simple example: at the 5-star Kempinski Hotel (seen here) not far from the main Olympic site, a delegation of Germans has already booked all 526 rooms. The hotel’s revenue manager, Graham Barlow, said the hotel was ‘in the midst of trying to secure bookings’ and said potential guests were being put on a waiting list. This does not augur well if you have hopes of staying in a luxury hotel near the venue.
City tourism officials and Olympics organizers are confident Beijing’s 700-plus star-rated hotels can absorb the onslaught of half a million foreign and domestic visitors expected each day for 17 days beginning August 8, 2008. But it will be a bit of a tight squeeze and luxury may have to come off some potential visitor’s agenda.
Some of the best hotels are already fully booked, and 122 of the three-, four- and five-star hotels closest to the Olympic venues are at least 70% filled after Olympics officials, sponsors and media locked up 30,000 rooms.
Xiong Yumei, deputy director of the Beijing Tourism Administration came up with the perfect slogan in answer to a question: ‘No need to wait. Book it now, hurry up.’
Sadly free-wheeling capitalism is already pushing prices well over double normal rates. City officials say they will not restrict hotel profits, and standard rooms being cited by travel agents surpass $325 a night at some 3-star hotels to $500-$775 at luxury 5-star hotels. This is what happened at the Athens Olympic. It will be many, many years before some visitors will include Athens on their travel itinerary. The Internet was full of complaints referring to the hoteliers as rip-off merchants. It was hoped Beijing would not fall into the same trap. The evidence is that it has.
Even if money is not an object do not even think about trying to book a room in the closest hotels. More than 95% of their rooms were snapped up by the Beijing Olympics organizing committee.
This is what Olympics organizing committees do. Why else be on the committee?