Hoteliers must avoid price Games

IT’S hard to see how the Olympics could have gone any better for LOCOG (London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games).

New heroes were born and legends forged as Team GB exceeded its medal target. Usain Bolt did the ‘double treble’ and the ‘mobot’ entered the national lexicon in honour of two-gold distance runner Mo Farrah. We even saw Andy Murray go all the way at Wimbledon.
For two weeks, the events from Stratford, Weymouth, Horse Guards Parade and other venues dominated the nation’s attention.
Yet although it could scarcely have been bettered from a sporting and organisational perspective, not everyone will have fond memories of London 2012.
Hotel operators in central London had high hopes the Games would bring a business bonanza, with many ramping up prices to make the most of what was expected to be a massive influx of visitors.
The reality, we now know, was altogether different.
Faced with the prospect of soaring prices and transport headaches, tourists and business people stayed away, leaving rooms unoccupied and streets relatively congestion-free.
The result was that at the height of the Games anyone wishing to book a room in the west end theatre district was able to pick up a bargain.
Amid all the talk of legacy, this was exactly the kind of hangover hotels would have wished to avoid – and one the industry in Glasgow will hope to resist when the Commonwealth Games rolls into town in 2014.
This, of course, will be easier said than done.
But as a starter for ten it might be useful for accommodation providers to avoid giving the impression that they’re out to nakedly profiteer from the occasion.
I’m not suggesting operators should ignore the commercial opportunity the event will bring – I just think mark-ups in the region of several hundred per cent will turn people off.
Care must also be taken, in my view, to avoid the impression that Glasgow will be a no-go area for the duration of the Commonwealth Games.
By virtue of the number of participating nations, the Commonwealth will not be quite as big a deal as the Olympics. Nonetheless, it will still see a significant influx to the city, and on that basis organisers face a logistical battle to ensure it has the infrastructure to cope.
The last thing Glasgow needs is the press whipping up fears of perpetual gridlock and security shortfalls of G4S proportions.
The task of finding solutions to such headaches is for better-qualified minds than mine, and I’m sure these matters are being addressed as the Games approach.
Perhaps we should take some succour from the fact that, with an independence referendum also looming in 2014, the SNP Government will be doing its utmost to ensure Glasgow doesn’t fluff its lines when the eyes of the world will be upon it.